Udonis Haslem is a living legend in Florida. The Miami native has played 858 games in 18 NBA seasons, all of them in a Miami Heat jersey. He racked up three world championships on those epic teams powered by the Big Three and was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame.
Haslem, a mentor to his current teammates, is considered a big-time celebrity in his hometown so it was heart-breaking to hear him tell a very personal tale about being racially profiled. The 40-year-old power forward relayed a story of what should have been a routine traffic stop as part of the Heat’s “Speak the Truth” campaign where players describe racial injustices.
In Haslem’s case, he was pulled over for speeding in Miami — a violation he fully admitted to committing — but then the police officer pointed a gun at his head after telling him to roll down his window. He was equal parts shocked and scared.
“I never thought I’d actually have a gun pointed at me — at least not from a police officer,” Haslem said. “Yes, I was speeding. I pulled over to comply with the officer, pulled to the side of the street. He said, ‘Driver, roll your window down’ and by the time I rolled my window down he had his gun out and it was pointed at my window. I just never thought that I would be looking down the barrel of a gun from a police officer.”
Miami's own @ThisIsUD reflects back on a scary moment with racism in his hometown.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 13, 2021
It was the first time in his life that Haslem had experienced racism in any form. He grew up in a multi-ethnic, diverse “melting pot” community where he hung out with Cubans, Dominicans, Haitians, every race under the sun. He was taught to embrace and respect all cultures.
“I was shocked that it was me, you know, being a professional athlete,” Haslem said, “and having an opportunity to really change things in the city and being a standup guy. That doesn’t make me perfect but I never thought I’d be looking down the barrel of a gun from an officer. It did raise a red flag in my head … what if it wasn’t me? What if it was one of my kids?”
I partnered with @OfficialMLK3 and @DrumMajorInst for the #UdonisHaslemSweepstakes to help advance the legacy of Dr. King and promote social justice. Grand prize winner will win an autographed jersey, a personalized video shoutout and more❗ #og ⚓️ https://t.co/Cc53r8rwkf pic.twitter.com/ucZxjflFQA
— Udonis Haslem (@ThisIsUD) January 21, 2021
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Taking Care of Jimmy Butler’s ‘Well-Being’
Many Heat players have talked openly about the admiration they have for Haslem in the locker room. He’s the elder statesman who they all look up to, from the last player off the bench to the best player in the starting lineup.
It’s a two-way street and Haslem made sure to look out for All-Star forward Jimmy Butler during the team’s recent COVID-19 outbreak. Butler missed 10 games and needed support from a friend, per the Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman.
Recently, it was Haslem who personally committed himself to Jimmy Butler’s mental and physical well-being when Butler missed 10 games due to pandemic protocol. It was a time that had a profound impact on Butler, who embraces Haslem as teammate.
Report: Udonis Haslem ‘personally committed himself’ to Jimmy Butler’s physical and mental well-being during COVID-19 absence https://t.co/4bckH1QGUv
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 13, 2021
Haslem never once reported to the scorer’s table as the pandemic wreaked havoc on the Heat, as Winderman pointed out, and has played in just four games this year. Haslem’s veteran leadership keeps him on the roster. He is averaging 3.0 points in 11.0 minutes per game.
Tyler Herro Cleared to Play Vs. Jazz
The Miami Heat will look to make it five straight wins tonight in Utah against the red-hot Jazz. Luckily, Erik Spoelstra will be getting a huge bench piece back.
“We’re just playing real good basketball right now. We’re continuing to get better but we’re not the team we want to be yet.” – @raf_tyler
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 13, 2021
Tyler Herro has been cleared to play after being pulled 17 seconds prior to tip-off on Thursday night due to COVID-19 protocols. The Heat guard eventually tested negative but the NBA held him out for “additional inspection” following a false-positive result.
“It was like a little tiny room. I felt like I was in jail,” Herro told reporters. “The TV was tiny. And it had a shower, so I was able to shower and watch the game.”
Either way, Herro is back and ready to contribute after quarantining for one game. He is averaging 17.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists this season.
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