Mourning will return next season

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

MIAMI -- Alonzo Mourning waited 13 years to win his first NBA championship. Now, the Miami Heat center wants to see what defending a title is like.

Mourning said late Saturday that he intends to return to the Heat next season, which would be his 14th -- not including a year he missed because of kidney disease that necessitated a transplant in December 2003.

Teammates often lobbied him to return in recent weeks, with Shaquille O'Neal chanting "one more" in Spanish -- "Uno mas! Uno mas!" -- at the team's championship parade three days after the title was clinched. Finals MVP Dwyane Wade also openly said he wanted Mourning back.

Mourning, 36, averaged 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.66 blocks in an average of 20 minutes last season, making 20 starts as O'Neal's backup.

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