What kind of person would do that?
What kind of sports-addled Velveeta brain would give away one of his kidneys to a multimillionaire superstar athlete? Somebody he's never even met?
Does he think the player will sign his bedpan? Has he always wanted to get an organ into the NBA?
What insanity would cause more than 600 people to offer one of their kidneys to Alonzo Mourning, the New Jersey Nets center who was forced into retirement on Nov. 24 after doctors told him that his kidney disease was not only career-ending but also life-threatening if he couldn't find a matching donor?
Well, a 5'2", 30-year-old San Francisco novelist named Tiffany Davis, for one.
"I was reading about it on ESPN.com," says Davis, a Nets fan and, like Mourning, a Georgetown graduate, "and I was like, Damn, he's fought so hard to keep playing, and now it's going down the drain. And I realized my blood type was O, too. So I was just moved to do it."
Davis dialed 1-800-633-6628, the Kidney & Urology Foundation of America, Inc., and heard about the 59,000 people waiting for a kidney, the 11 who the every day for want of one and the millions of Americans with kidney disease trying to stay off that dark list. Little crocodiles chewed at her insides.
"That's when I decided it doesn't have to be Alonzo who gets my kidney, it can be anybody," she says. "I mean, why not? I've got two. One is just hanging around." Now comes the hard part, she says, "telling my mom."
Prizefighter Jonathan Reid of Nashville is another one of those altruists. He was reading about Mourning in USA Today and decided it was time to "help a brother out."
"I just thought, Man, this has got to be devastating to this guy," says the 31-year-old Reid, who is 33-1 as a middleweight. The more he found out, the more it pinched his conscience. And he came to a decision: "If it turns out Alonzo doesn't need my kidney," says Reid, a father of four, "I'd like to look into giving it to someone else. I mean, I'm healthy, right? I just can't tell my mom. She's a handwringer."