The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame added nine individuals and a team on Friday night at the induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass., and one of the most grateful to be there was Alonzo Mourning.
Mourning and former NBA commissioner David Stern were among those enshrined as part of the Class of 2014.
Stern and the late Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton of the New York Knicks were elected as contributors to the game. The other players joining Mourning were Mitch Richmond, Guy Rodgers and Sarunas Marciulionis.
Mourning was thankful not only to be honored as a basketball player with the Miami Heat in the NBA andGeorgetown University but happy to be alive. A kidney disease nearly ended his career before he received a transplant and came back to play in the NBA, winning a championship with the Heat in 2006.
"There was such purpose to my life at that point and I never doubted - no matter how long the odds - that it was possible," Mourning said during the ceremony. "I just thought, 'This is much bigger than me.' I had a goal set to win a championship that was denied when I got kidney disease."
Stern was praised for his three decades of leadership that turned the NBA into an international success.
"The NBA rose to terrific heights, on and off the court," Richmond said
Williams led Maryland to 11 straight NCAA Tournament berths and the 2002 national title. Richardson coached at Arkansas and Tulsa, and the 82-year-old Leonard is the winningest coach in American Basketball Association history.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun