Alonzo Mourning in the Nike Air Alonzo

Today in Performance Sneaker History: Alonzo Mourning Returns from Kidney Disease

Alonzo Mourning was one of the most intimidating players in the paint during his 15-year NBA career. The 7-time NBA All-Star was known for his outstanding defense and equally valuable offensive contributions. But, prior to the 2000-01 NBA season, Mourning was diagnosed with a kidney disease known as focal glomerulosclerosis. The condition is one of the biggest causes of kidney failure, so it required immediate medical attention. Alonzo Mourning then missed the first 69 games of the season while he recovered.

On March 27, 2001, Mourning made a triumphant return against the Toronto Raptors. In just 18 minutes on the court, ‘Zo put up nine points and grabbed seven boards. The inspiring comeback would continue throughout the following season, when Mourning participated in the 2002 All-Star Game. The condition would become progressively worse and cause Mourning to miss more time, but his career lasted until 2008 and included a Championship win in 2006.

Mourning wore Nike sneakers throughout his career, including a lesser-known model during his 2001 comeback. However, he’s mostly known for the Nike Air Alonzo, a 1997 model which featured a visible Air unit and a plush leather upper. The Air Alonzo hasn’t been on shelves since then, but with the recent resurgance of ’90s basketball models, a retro is definitely a possibility.

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