Editor’s Note: Welcome to Hall of Thread. Logan Meyer has collected sports jerseys since middle school and has more than 250 to his name. Thrift stores across the world, trades and scouring online deals have helped him build his jersey empire, and in this series, he will explain some of his most prized basketball jerseys, how he got them, background on the player and teams and more. With a collection like his, you’re bound to find something unique – an Alonzo Mourning Charlotte Hornets fit.
Safe to say this jersey is the only one in my collection that bears the name of a two-time NBA Champion as a vice president of player programs. Also an NBA title winner as a player, this Alonzo Mourning Charlotte Hornets jersey found in an Ohio Thrift Store location in western Columbus represents a winner both on and off the court.
Throwback jerseys tend to have a unique aura about them as there’s often a particular recognizable style within the jerseys of each decade. This one certainly fits that billing. As is customary with the average 90s-era jersey, this Hornets top features lots of colors; there are seven different colors of stripes alone.
The jersey is also made more uncommon by the fact that the Hornets weren’t the team Mourning spent the majority of his long NBA career with. In fact, he was only with the Charlotte franchise for the first three of his 15 NBA seasons.
However, the rarest factor about this jersey is the quality I found it in. More often than not, when it comes to jersey hunting at thrift stores, the items found feature at least some blemishes. Whether it’s a slight tear or stain, it’s a good bet to find one. And as is true with any clothing, the whites are the hardest to keep in good shape, but miraculously this white-base throwback Alonzo Mourning jersey sat on the thrift store rack with neither a spot nor smug anywhere.
Although I’ve thrifted in numerous spots around the country and world, I stand by the consistency and quality found at those in Columbus, Ohio, and this Hornets jersey only further supports my stance.
The Making of Alonzo Mourning
As a state title winner his junior season, going along with being named National Player of the Year in his senior season by Gatorade, Naismith, Parade, and USA Today, Alonzo Mourning kicked his career off where he was for most of it: the spotlight.
Named the No. 1 recruit in the 1988 class, Mourning committed to play at Georgetown for legendary coach John Thompson. He made an immediate impact on both ends of the floor, blocking the most shots in NCAA basketball his freshman season, along with 13.1 points per game. After a brief partnership in college with another rim-protecting standout, Dikembe Mutombo, he regained sole control of the paint for Georgetown in his final season with the Hoyas. That year Mourning finished as a consensus First-Team All-American.
Drafted at No. 2 by the Charlotte Hornets, only Shaquille O’Neal was selected higher in the 1992 NBA Draft. He quickly proved his value, making the NBA All-Rookie Team and finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting to O’Neal.
After three seasons with the franchise and one NBA All-Star selection, Mourning wanted a change of scenery and declined an offer to re-sign. He was then shipped to the Miami Heat in a deal that involved six players and a first-round pick.
His NBA career really took off in Miami, making six All-Star Game appearances between 1995 and 2002. Additionally, he was named First-Team All-NBA in 1999 when he led the league in blocks per game and averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds. Mourning also took home an Olympic gold medal during his first stint with the Heat, winning with Team USA in 2000.
Mourning joined the New Jersey Nets as a free agent in 2003 but had a very unproductive and concerning couple of seasons that included a temporary retirement from basketball due to a serious kidney condition.
While he never fully regained his previous caliber of play, a move back to the Heat in 2005 proved to be extremely beneficial for the tail-end of Mourning’s career. He was used primarily as a role player, coming off the bench to relieve superstar forward O’Neal, combining the top two picks from more than a decade before. Mourning still found a way to be very effective for Miami, including finishing third in the NBA in blocks in his first two seasons back with the franchise.
Mourning and the Heat finally found a way to win an NBA Championship in 2006 with a 4-2 series win over the Dallas Mavericks, a first for both him and the franchise. He recorded five blocks in the title-clinching Game 6 victory.
After the 2008 season, Mourning decided to officially call it quits and left the Heat as their all-time scoring leader at the time. He then later returned to the franchise as the Vice President of Player Programs and Development in 2009 and was a member of the staff during the Heat’s two titles in 2012 and 2013.
Officially a three-time NBA Champion, Mourning’s legacy was further solidified with his recent inductions into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of Fame.