The enduring memory of Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing is of Georgetown alums who didn’t allow their Hoya loyalties to get in the way of a healthy scrum.
See: Heat-Knicks, circa late-’90s.
Yet Tuesday, as the two spoke on an NBA-arranged conference call to detail their participation, along with fellow former Hoya Dikembe Mutombo, on an upcoming Basketball Without Borders tour of South Africa, the former All-Star centers and fierce playoff combatants had no interest in fanning any flames.
Instead, the duo addressed the brawl earlier this week in China between a Georgetown touring summer team and a Chinese professional team.
Mourning, who now works as a Miami Heat executive, serves on Georgetown’s board of directors.
“I speak for all of our board members and all of the representatives of the university, and that’s not Georgetown and that’s not the image we portray,” he said.
The two teams eventually met at the airport to sort our differences after their exhibition was cut short by the brawl that eventually was featured prominently on ESPN.
“This was an opportunity for the university to get some global exposure, and this is not the image you want to portray,” Mourning said.
“But I don’t know all the facts and how everything went down. You just hate to see things like that. Just hopefully the thought of it can diminish sooner than later because that’s not what the university is about.”
Ewing, an Orlando Magic assistant coach, acknowledged the moment as a black eye for the Hoyas program.
“You try to move past it,” he said.
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.