Twenty years in, Miami Heat big man and three-time NBA champion Udonis Haslem clearly still has the drive to succeed. Amid the club’s recent stretch of six losses in seven games — a funk that was finally dispelled with consecutive wins over the Atlanta Hawks — Haslem, who barely plays at this point, confessed that the slump had cost him some shut-eye.
“Nobody likes to lose,” Haslem said, via the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang. “I’m losing sleep at night, you know what I mean.”
Despite that drive, the level of care he has about the franchise, its players and its fans, the Heat lifer also knows when enough is enough. So, even if the team is inching toward a title, even if it falls a rimmed-out triple shy of reaching the Finals again this season, Haslem has confirmed that he’ll still be bowing out at the end of the campaign as planned.
“I’m done no matter what happens,” Haslem confirmed on Sunday, via Chiang. “…I think at this stage there needs to be another voice for these guys.”
Udonis Haslem Will Be Honored as a Pillar of the Heat Franchise
Given the fact that he has played less than a season’s worth of games combined over the last seven years, younger fans may not fully understand the impact Haslem has had on Miami. Next to Dwyane Wade, though, perhaps no player in the franchise annals has been associated with the Heat like Haslem, hence his “OG” nickname.
The 42-year-old has made just over 500 starts in the frontcourt for the club, plus 84 more during postseason play. Moreover, his name can be found all over the Heat’s franchise record books.
As of this writing, Haslem is Miami’s career leader in offensive, defensive and total rebounds (1,615, 4,173 and 5,788, respectively). He also ranks second in Heat history to Wade in games played (878) and minutes logged (21,694). Additionally, he’s fifth in field goals (2,660), seventh in scoring (6,562) and fourth in win shares (50.7)… just to name a few.
So, it should come as no surprise that the Heat have big plans where honoring Haslem is concerned.
Per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman, Section 305 in Miami-Dade Arena will be dedicated to Haslem later this month. He’ll also have his jersey number retired next season.
Haslem Could Stick Around in a Different Capacity
Just because Haslem is hanging up the hi-tops doesn’t mean that he’s parting ways with the South Beach crew. On the contrary, the baller has designs on staying involved as a hands-on minority owner.
“My commitment, even though I’ll be retired, is to be here just as much as the players and the staff and be committed to the process of the future and winning… I look to take a path of ownership, but to be a working owner, not a guy who crosses his legs and sits on the sideline,” Haslem declared, via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
“I want to be a guy that connects the dots between the locker room and front office, connects the dots between the front office and the owners. Sometimes you can miss things in those areas.”