While the Miami Heat were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks 93-83 on January 1, an older rivalry between the two franchises was reignited following J.J. Barea’s comments on his podcast “The Old Mand the Three.”
Barea described how his former teammate, NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki, “hated Miami” and “hated LeBron, Wade, Bosh,” back in 2011 when the Mavericks beat the Heat to win the NBA Finals.
Nowitzki, the league’s sixth all-time leading scorer, a 14-time All-Star, and a 12-time All-NBA selection, played for one franchise during his entire career — 21 seasons with Dallas before finally winning the title.
That same year, it was the first season “The Big 3” hit Miami – LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade — a move which made the Heat easily one of the most hated teams in America. Barea noted that while Nowitzki didn’t hate the players personally, he despised the fact that three NBA All-Stars took a shortcut to make it to the Finals.
Guess who’s not crying about it? Udonis Haslem, who took to Instagram on January 3 to respond to Barea’s Nowitzki comments. “I don’t (know) why this is news. We didn’t need anyone to make fun of us. We already hated they asses. So f****** what he didn’t like being picked on.”
Haslem, 40, is now in his 18th NBA season, and like Nowitzki, he’s spent the entirety of his time with one franchise.
The Fake Cough That Set Nowitzki Off
When Haslem said, “We didnt’ need anyone to make fun of us,” he’s referring back to the 2011 Finals when prior to Game 5, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade started making fun of him by coughing when he got a little sick.
“That clip really hurt him,” Barea said. “He will never say it, but he really saw the tape, and that tape really hurt him, and that gave him a little bit extra, that he didn’t need, but it gave him a little extra to finish them off.”
The Mavericks won the title over the Heat in six games that year with Nowitzki averaging 26 points per game to earn Finals MVP honors.
Despite Very Little Play Time, Haslem Remains a Beloved Rock in the Heat Locker Room
Few other players have played with the same franchise for the entirety of their career. Aside from Nowitzki, only Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, John Stockton, and Reggie Miller spent a minimum of 18 seasons with one team.
However, Haslem could soon join that elite dedicated squad of athletes, as the veteran has left the door open for extending his career past the 2020-2021 season. Even though he only played four games last season, and has scored a total of 76 points of the past four season, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra loves what he brings to the franchise.
“He’s just an incredible rock of stability and leadership and mentorship,” Spoelstra said during the 2019 NBA Finals. “That’s at all levels. It’s not just to our young players. It’s to our veteran players. And he provides just great guidance and mentorship to this head coach as well. I love him.”
Haslem remains the Heat’s all-time leading rebounder and is ranked No. 7 on the franchise’s career scoring list.