Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning had a message for current NBA players that load manage in a recent interview on ESPN.
Mourning and Shaquille O’Neal, two of the greatest big men in Heat history, talked about the previous generation paving the way for current players.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 2, 2022
“No more load management,” Mourning said. “Go out there and play. Go out there and play. The greats that paved the way, they played basketball.”
The NBA has changed quite a bit since Mourning and O’Neal were starring in the league, as there is a greater emphasis on player health and avoiding major injuries.
Players will sit out one of the two games in a back-to-back at times, and others will be out of the lineup for minor injuries in order to avoid a setback. The league has certainly changed with players sitting out more often than they did in Mourning and O’Neal’s day, and Mourning believes that players need to go out and earn what they are being paid to do.
“That’s what you paid to do,” Mourning said.
Mourning played 11 seasons with the Heat, and he won an NBA title with the team during the 2005-06 season. In his 11 seasons in Miami, Mourning averaged 16.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game while shooting 53.7 percent from the field.
A Hall of Famer, Mourning made seven All-Star teams in his NBA career. He was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and led the league in blocks in two seasons. A dominant defensive player, Mourning is one of the best players in Heat history. His last season in the NBA came with Miami during the 2007-08 campaign.
Prior to missing the entire 2002-03 season due to a kidney disease, Mourning was an iron man for the Heat and Charlotte Hornets, playing over 32.0 minutes per game in nine of his first 10 seasons in the NBA.
There are always going to be differences from era to era in the NBA, but it’s clear that Mourning and O’Neal prided themselves on being available for their teams as much as possible.
Even though fans want to see players out there on a nightly basis, it is good that the league is more comfortable with prioritizing player health, as it should help them have longer, more successful careers.