If there’s one player on the Miami Heat who’s been there and done that, it’s big man Udonis Haslem.
He has played 20 seasons in the NBA, all with the Heat, and has seen many ups and downs over the years.
Through it all, he’s become the team’s elder statesman, not to mention one of the most beloved figures in franchise history.
He’s finally calling it quits after this season’s finale, and several of his former teammates took to Twitter to wish him well in a moving video.
For this you will need tissues
Ahead of @ThisIsUDHis teammates from all eras have nothing but love for the OG in the final game of his 20-year career pic.twitter.com/YjrE7wvkc5
— Miami Heat (@MiamiHEAT) April 8, 2023
Haslem is a unique success story, as he dropped out of the University of Florida in 2002.
After spending a season playing basketball overseas, he joined the Heat for the 2003–04 campaign, and saw a rookie Dwyane Wade hit the clutch shot and take them to the second round of the playoffs.
Haslem quickly became a starter and key role player, especially after he won his first NBA championship in 2006.
He later persevered through a down period, then adjusted to a reserve role as Miami reached four straight NBA Finals and won back-to-back world titles with LeBron James from 2011 to 2014.
During the era led by the team’s current Jimmy Butler, Haslem has hardly played, and has served as an unofficial assistant coach.
But his words carry a lot of weight, and when he speaks on the bench or in the locker room, everyone listens and heeds his advice.
After a disappointing 2022-23 season that saw them boast the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference, the Heat will have some tough decisions to make this season as they hope to rejoin the NBA’s elite. There are, and one decision will be how to replace Haslem’s leadership.
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