Just Say No to Zo

First of all, my apologies to all my fans (both of them) for me taking such a long time between postings. I also want to say thank you for allowing me to vent in my last posting.  I can honestly tell you I am felling much better.  It’s amazing what a bag full of oatmeal-raisin cookies can do for the soul.

This entry actually came as a result of an e-mail I sent to Dan Le Batard, one of my favorite columnists from the Miami Herald.  He was commenting on why it would be a good idea for the Heat to sign Alonzo Mourning now that he has been released from the Toronto Raptors. <click here to read article>  And as much of a Heat fan as I am, I just have to say that this is a bad idea.  Here’s why.

Yes, objectively speaking, Zo returning to Miami is a good fit at the right price.  However, as Mr. Le Batard mentions, you don’t want to mess with the chemistry of a team that is not only winning now, but will only continue to win for the next several years.  As the rise of the New England Patriots and the demise of the New York Yankees prove, team chemistry has as much to do with winning as do talent and coaching. And if his argument has one flaw – and please understand that I say that sincerely and humbly as a fan – it is that Alonzo Mourning can check his ego at the door.

Alonzo was a superstar at Georgetown.  Alonzo was a superstar at Charlotte.  Alonzo WAS the Miami Heat in the 90’s!  And even though he’s pretty much been out of the game for a couple of years, I do not think that he will easily and causally accept his role as a role-player on a team that begins and ends with Shaquille O’Neal.  Especially playing for an unfamiliar coach in Stan Van Gundy.  If Pat Riley were still on the bench, I would be more accepting of the concept of Alonzo’s ego being held in check.

Let us not forget this is the same Zo that bolted South Florida for the greener pastures of the Meadowlands.  The Alonzo that saw success in New Jersey and decided to pursue a ring there rather than rebuild in Miami.  The same Alonzo who after sitting a year with a kidney ailment while still collecting a check from the Heat told a local sports anchor he did not owe anyone anything.  Not Pat Riley, not the Miami Heat, not the fans of South Florida.

Excuse me?  He receives nothing but support and prayers from his teammates and fans and he doesn’t owe anything to anyone?  He receives cash for sitting out a year while he gets better and he doesn’t owe the organization anything?  He escapes to the Nets for more money and now that Miami is 25 games over .500 he wants back?

Wasn’t it his 6’10” ego that demanded a trade out of New Jersey?  Wasn’t it his sense of “I’m better than this!” that kept him from reporting to Toronto after he got his wish to be traded?  And now we expect him to learn humility overnight and play in Shaq’s shadow?

Again, it pains me to point this out to Mr. Le Batard, someone who is a role model for me and my fledging desire to become a writer.  But I feel the only thing that will result out of the Heat saying “Good Mourning, Miami” is a nasty hangover come playoff time.  Because sports history has taught us that large ego + large ego = bad chemistry.  Just ask the Big Aristotle……Kobe who?

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