MIAMI (AP) -Alonzo Mourning is an NBA champion, a supporter of many charitable causes, a crusader for better education for students in South Florida and beyond.
And now he's an author.
The book chronicling Mourning's life, ``Resilience,'' is being released Tuesday, and the longtime All-Star center said he's hopeful the 231-page tale can inspire everyday people to overcome whatever challenges they face, much like how cycling champion Lance Armstrong's two books inspired Mourning in his fight against kidney disease.
``Lance was one of the people who inspired me to write this book,'' Mourning said in an interview with The Associated Press. ``He played a big role in my overall approach to coming back and playing the game, reading both of his books, learning more about his life, his experiences and how he dealt with adversity. He motivated millions and millions of people in their lives, and I felt my story could have that same impact.''
w Jersey and Miami, where he spent the bulk of his career and the team he'd like to return to at some point this season. He's still waiting to determine if he can recover from major injuries to his knee and leg suffered in a fall at Atlanta on Dec. 19, 2007 - the fourth anniversary of the kidney transplant that saved his life.
Mourning has been open about his fight against kidney disease, but the book touches on several other facets of his life, many of which he hasn't discussed at much length publicly before.
Among the highlights:
- How actor, comedian and philanthropist Bill Cosby helped shape his life by paying for an education at Howard for the woman who would eventually become his wife, Tracy Wilson Mourning.
- The tribulations of the recruiting trail as a coveted high school player, when Maryland, Syracuse, Virginia and Georgia Tech all wanted him to sign and wooed him with clothes, shoes, fancy dinners, even a trip to a strip club. ``Everyone understood I could have gotten money at any of these places. The message was sent,'' Mourning wrote.
- The ironic tale of how he was nearly too muscular to get a kidney transplant, because surgeons were having trouble finding a place in his body to put the new organ without cutting copious amounts of muscle. If they'd gone about the procedure that way, Mourning's career would have ended in the operating room.
said. ``And if everybody had an opportunity to put their story on paper, everybody reading those stories would find something that they would connect with. And I know there's so many positive things throughout my whole life that can help inspire and help people overcome certain adversities in their lives.''
Mourning said he spent about two years planning and writing the book, some of the proceeds of which will be directed toward kidney transplantation programs and research.
The other words on the cover - faith, focus and triumph - are part of a message that Mourning said believes can be applied by anyone to any situation in life.
``We all are here for one purpose,'' Mourning said. ``We're here to help fellow man and stimulate growth on this earth. That's what we're here for. God created the planets, the trees, the human beings, He put us here to grow and enhance things in a positive way. And there's more to me being on this earth than just being a basketball player. That's not how I want to be remembered.''
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