Best Pro Athlete (2000)
One syllable. Two letters. Six feet, ten inches of lean, sculpted muscle. ZO! Lots of great athletes have earned their single-name recognition: Michael, Shaq, Sweetness, Magic, the Babe. And although achievement generally precedes such recognition, this year Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning took a huge leap forward in both realms. Zo spent his first few seasons here carrying the weight of a franchise and a city on his back while critics called him overpaid and underproductive. But it was the pressure he put on himself, rather than the pressure of the outside world, that led him to his first selection to the All-NBA First Team last year and to runner-up position in league MVP voting. The accolades kept coming this season: Zo was chosen to compete in Sydney with the 2000 USA Men's National Team. In addition to his achievements on the court, Mourning, who is the NBA's national spokesman for the prevention of child abuse, donates $100 for every blocked shot he makes to the Children's Home Society and Jackson Memorial Hospital. And his Summer Groove fundraiser, which benefits the Children's Home Society, has raised more than a million dollars in the three years it's existed. On the floor or off, Alonzo Mourning always stands tall.