Former Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning: What are you willing to give up to win?


Former NBA player, 7-time All-Star Alonzo Mourning recently proved to be not just a great basketball player, but a mentor as well, helping to sharpen the focus of the NFL player Greg Little.

Alonzo Mourning played 15 years in the NBA, appearing in 838 games (686 started), averaging 17.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.8 bpg in 31 minutes of playing time.

He was named a defensive player of the year 2 times, an All-Star and won a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.

Mourning heard about Little from a mutual friend of theirs and thought he could help. He knew that Little engaged in a Twitter war with fans and that it knocked him off his game.

Former Miami Heat center talked with Little during a two-hour lunch in Miami, explaining what “dedication to the game” means.

“The message he gave to me is ‘what are you willing to give up to win?'” said the Browns receiver. “That’s kind of the message I relayed to our team — ‘what are you willing to sacrifice to finish this season out like we really want to?”

“I didn’t know he was following me as close as he was,” said Little. “I had the thing on Twitter and that whole debacle and he just explained to me that [the fans] were right. Winning is more important than any other thing in sports and that’s just something that I enjoyed hearing from him.”

Mourning cited the example of a former Cleveland superstar to drive home his point.

“He said that the biggest thing that helped LeBron [James] in his playoff run was the sacrifice he made to stay off Twitter, don’t text people, don’t instagram, things like that,” said Little. “He said that was the best performance that he’s seen other than Michael Jordan.”

A seven-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Mourning also stressed the hallmarks of a champion.

“He explained a story that Tiger Woods would putt five-foot putts 500 times and he’d have to hit 500 in a row,” said Little. “If he missed at 299, he started all the way back to one. That was the way he was explaining to me about when I have drops — doing something so many times where it’s just muscle memory.”

Mourning’s words packed such a punch that the loquacious Little was virtually speechless throughout. “I was lost in what he was saying and really trying to soak in 100 percent,” he said.

The point is – it worked, as Little has been staying off Twitter since Sept. 22 – and will do more before and after practice – including extended time on the JUGS pass-catching machine.

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