Obama Praises Alonzo Mourning's "Warrior's Heart"

Friday, Mar 21, 2014  |  Updated 12:21 AM CDT
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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks while congratulating the 2012-13 NCAA Division I men's and women's champions on the South Lawn of the White House March 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. Hundreds of scholar athletes from schools across the country were invited to the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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A longtime allegiance to the Chicago Bulls didn't stop President Barack Obama from showering praise on Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning during an appearance in South Florida Thursday.

"Now, the truth is I was a big fan of Alonzo's before I had a chance to meet him, and that's despite being a Bulls' fan," the president said during a fundraiser at Mourning's Pinecrest home. "And the reason is, is because he had a warrior's heart and he always fought for what he believed in, and he was always a team player." 

Obama, who made a brief fundraising swing through Miami Thursday evening following a speech in Orlando, called Mourning and his wife Tracy "great friends," saying he has "grown to love" the entire family.

"It only is the Heat lucky, but all of south Florida is lucky to have them in their community and doing such great work," he said, according to prepared remarks issued by the White House.

Obama dedicated much of the rest of his remarks at the fundraiser to discussing the need to expand economic opportunities for women and working families, a theme he also focused on during a stop in Orlando Thursday.

Tickets for the reception and dinner, held to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, ranged from $16,200 a person to $32,400 a couple.

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