In July 2003, Mourning departed the lowly Heat - remarking he didn't owe the franchise anything - and signed with title-contending New Jersey as an unrestricted free agent. But things soon went awry in New Jersey (owner Bruce Ratner didn't want to pay to keep center-forward Kenyon Martin or swingman Kerry Kittles) and when it seemed the Nets were finished throwing money around in pursuit of a title, Mourning, who went there to win a title, forced his exit.
He made life miserable for the Nets, spouting off to the media at every opportunity. Remarking on a conversation he had with Ratner, Mourning said, "I asked him, 'Other than your investment in this team for financial purposes - obviously getting a significant return - what's the reason why you bought the team?' " "And you ask anybody in here," Mourning continued, "he said, 'To move it to Brooklyn.' I mean, I didn't hear, 'To win a championship.' "I just shook my head."
And yes, NLG (and AYR) are a heck of a lot better at keeping up on Atlantic Yards than, say, Brownstoner, despite the New York Times's attentions.