NBA All-Star (and basketball partner of President Obama) Alonzo Mourning appeared on the Hill Wednesday afternoon to advocate for kidney care funding. Mourning was joined by doctors and other advocates to urge Congress to resist cutting funds from Medicare that benefit dialysis patients.
The former Miami Heat player, who has been a public voice for the kidney community since he received a kidney transplant in 2003, made brief remarks at the Rayburn building. During a Q&A, Mourning made it clear that one topic was off limits.
"Don't ask any questions about the Heat losing to the Wizards," he said, disgust clear in his tone and the shake of his head. (The Wizards' 105-101 victory over the Heat was widely viewed in the sporting community as a humiliation for Miami.)
Mourning did take some questions later from Yeas & Nays. The all-star said he's accumulated plenty of allies on the Hill for his cause, citing Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., as particularly good friends of the kidney community. No word on if Mourning will be paying a visit to his old pal Obama, for whom he co-hosted a fundraiser with fellow NBA stars Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony and Patrick Ewing back in July, but he did share some details about the pick-up game he played with Obama a few years ago.
"He's a pretty good shooter," Mourning said. "Left-hander, you know." Mourning said he has "a relationship with the president," but they aren't necessarily on texting terms.
"I won't say we're texting each other," he said. "He has a pretty busy schedule."