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Shaq and Alonzo Mourning talk charity, NBA basketball and pickleball

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The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation & Icy Hot unveil the newest “Comebaq Court,” refurbished athletic spaces helping underserved communities get back in the sport, in collaboration with Alonzo Mourning at Overtown Youth Center in Miami, Flori on November 30, 2022. 

Rob Kim | Getty Images

NBA champions Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning are reuniting to offer fans reason to cheer again in Miami.

The previous Heat centers, who brought Miami a 2006 NBA Championship, are teaming as much as refurbish a basketball court as a part of a $20 million renovation at a youth center in South Beach. The project is funded by the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation and its long-time partner Icy Hot, as a part of their Comebaq Courts program that fixes up rundown courts.

Comebaq Courts has also refurbished basketball courts in Las Vegas, Nevada and Newark, Recent Jersey.

The most recent “Comebaq Court” is situated in Miami, inside Mourning’s Overtown Youth Center.

“Once I got drafted in 1992, the very first thing my mom said to me was ‘Baby, now that you simply’re wealthy and famous, you’ve a responsibility’,” O’Neal said. “She said all these kids look as much as you, you’ve to say the fitting thing and do the fitting thing.”

The commitment to giving back was among the many topics O’Neal and Mourning discussed in an interview with CNBC, with the previous teammates also weighing in on the state of the NBA and pickleball. They noted they need to pay it forward and ensure the subsequent generation has the resources to win on and off the court.

“Shaq and I didn’t get here by ourselves. We came due to contributions of other people. I’m very fortunate and I do know he could be very fortunate for those people to assist us get up to now,” Mourning said.

O’Neal said he grew up within the projects of Newark, Recent Jersey. His father insisted that he go across the road to the Boys and Girls Club to remain out of trouble. That is where he developed his basketball game and a passion for being a disc jockey.

“Basketball was a life changing event for me. It’s helped me stay out of trouble,” O’Neal said.

The newly renovated court is slated to reopen in 2023.

Pickleball

With skilled basketball within the rearview mirror for the previous NBA stars, CNBC asked about America’s hottest recent sport: pickleball.

“I believe we’ll keep on with the basketball court,” Mourning said with fun. “Do not get me improper, but it surely is more designed for an older generation.”

O’Neal expressed more interest: “I’m actually taking a look at investing in a team. I’m still occupied with it,” he said.

O’Neal said his son got here to him recently with the investment idea. Pickleball has seen explosive growth in each participants and investment money, including from basketball stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant and team owners Marc Cuban and Wes Edens.

“I had a probability to play it a few times, you already know, so it’s pretty entertaining. You may get an incredible workout and you already know, so I prefer it. I actually do,” said Mourning.

State of the NBA

O’Neal and Mourning also shared their thoughts on the state of the NBA.

Mourning praised NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for doing “an incredible job,” and joked that he wished he were playing today, a nod to larger contacts and endorsement money.

“The pie is incredibly big from these TV contracts and the players are reaping the advantages. So yeah, the sport is in place,” Mourning said.

O’Neal also offered advice to today’s NBA players: remember your youngest fans.

“They [the fans] pay numerous money for what you collect. So, I urge you guys to maintain playing hard, keep playing well, don’t just take the cash and disappear…But think concerning the little kid that is wearing your jersey.”

Shaq & Alonzo Mourning team up to refurbish Miami basketball courts

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