MIAMI — Udonis Haslem averaged 7.5 factors and 6.6 rebounds in his profession. He by no means made an All-Star group. By no means had a triple-double. By no means signed something near a max contract. By no means even received a participant of the week award.
The stats may appear odd.
But to the Miami Warmth, he’s perpetually legendary.
The Miami native, who spent his complete 20-year profession with the Warmth — a part of three championship groups and serving as captain in 16 of his seasons — watched his now-retired No. 40 jersey raised to the rafters on Friday evening, the end result of a profession that noticed him go from undrafted to nearly unmatched.
Did it his means in his metropolis over 20 years.
Watch UD’s full jersey retirement ceremony from begin to end ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/LDYDC6uQp2
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 20, 2024
Haslem is one in all solely three gamers who spent a profession of 20 years or extra with one franchise. Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant are the others.
“You all bought the cash on me crying, don’t y’all? I do know you all suppose I’m going to cry,” Haslem stated. “Yeah, it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting. It’s exhausting. Warmth Nation, it’s been an absolute honor, man.”
After which he stopped to wipe his eyes, evidently welling with tears behind the sun shades he wore inside a darkened enviornment. He was too emotional to learn the remarks he ready so he went off the highest of his head, thanking nearly each member of the group, his household and former teammates.
Haslem additionally paid tribute to all of Miami — space code 305.
“You’ve bought to carry up the 305,” he stated. “Tonight, all of us have a good time, 305.”
Haslem, who wish to finally be part of the Warmth possession group and at present works for the group as a vp of participant growth, is the sixth participant to get a jersey retired by the Warmth. The others: Chris Bosh (No. 1), Dwyane Wade (No. 3), Tim Hardaway (No. 10), Shaquille O’Neal (No. 32) and Alonzo Mourning (No. 33).
Haslem’s received’t be the final; the Warmth have already stated they are going to finally retire No. 6 for LeBron James. The 5 earlier retired-jersey recipients by the Warmth are already within the Basketball Corridor of Fame. And Warmth President Pat Riley stated Haslem’s legacy needs to be celebrated as nicely.
“Udonis Haslem, his pressure mattered and it counted,” Riley stated. “And that’s one of many explanation why we’re hanging his jersey right here as we speak. … Udonis Haslem goes to depart a really huge footprint.”
There have been many presents: a $50,000 examine to his basis from the Warmth charitable fund, a commemorative jersey, a reproduction of the retirement banner — and three new seats within the enviornment in honor of Haslem’s late father, mom and stepmother.
Haslem — the franchise’s all-time rebounding chief — was the NBA’s oldest lively participant at 43 when he retired after final season. He additionally grew to become the oldest participant to seem in an NBA Finals sport, doing so two days earlier than his forty third birthday when the Warmth performed the Nuggets final yr within the title spherical.
He performed in a complete of 65 regular-season video games over his final seven NBA seasons, and a few pundits typically questioned why Haslem was nonetheless an lively participant. The Warmth laughed at such criticism, insisting that Haslem’s worth within the locker room, on the observe courtroom and as a mentor was invaluable.
“He spent 20 years with one group and helped everybody he may for these 20 years,” stated Goran Dragic, one of many many former teammates who was at Friday’s ceremony. “He deserves this.”
Added Warmth middle Bam Adebayo, who succeeded Haslem as Miami’s captain this season: “He was the glue. Lots of people get misplaced within the stats, who averages essentially the most, however he was the glue for everyone. … And I really feel just like the glue guys are an important guys on a group.”
Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley stated he wished he may have been on the ceremony, simply to pay tribute to Haslem’s toughness and what he meant to the league.
“I believe it simply goes to indicate the impression that you would be able to have on a corporation, on a neighborhood, on the gamers round you whenever you don’t make it about you,” Mosley stated. “And I believe he’s embodied that greater than anybody. It’s concerning the ‘Warmth Tradition,’ it’s about who he’s, it’s about him locally and Dade County. It’s who he’s.”
Your subscription couldn’t be saved. Please attempt once more.
Your subscription has been profitable.
There are larger-than-life reminders all over the place within the enviornment that the Warmth name house about what Haslem did in his 20 years. There are images of him holding NBA championship trophies, images of him with a stream of blood coming from his temple after a playoff dust-up in opposition to Indiana, images of him dumping a Gatorade bucket over Warmth coach Erik Spoelstra’s head to have a good time a title.
“The Miami Warmth group, we won’t solely all the time have a good time his legacy, however we’ll educate individuals on his legacy,” Spoelstra stated. “And his legacy is essential to the league as nicely. My hope is that this will get acknowledged and acknowledged all through the league … so this new era of youthful gamers can perceive what being an all-time winner can appear like.”