“Here for a Reason”: Heat Veteran Explains How He Tried to Motivate His Team to Beat LeBron James in 2020 NBA Finals

Published 10/28/2021, 10:00 AM EDT
SHENZHEN, CHINA – OCTOBER 12: #23 Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a preseason game as part of 2019 NBA Global Games China at Shenzhen Universiade Center on October 12, 2019 in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


The Miami Heat have seem to be the dark horses of the Eastern Conference. They have gotten off to a rapid 3-1 start, and seem to be unstoppable. On Wednesday, the side overcame front runners Brooklyn Nets in a dominant display. Though the younger stars are the ones shining for the team, veteran Udonis Haslem adds some solid value to the setup. Recently, he spoke about how he keeps his equations with the likes of LeBron James aside so that his team can succeed.

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41-year-old Udonis Haslem is the oldest active player in the NBA. He was part of the iconic Heat side that went on to win back-to-back titles. Along with LeBron James and co, he scripted history with the franchise, but is yet to taste success ever since. The star has been away for a while due to the sad demise of his father, but recently returned to Heat training. There is no doubt that his experience and loyalty adds immense value and acts as an inspiration to the next generation players.

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Udonis Haslem talks about distancing from LeBron James and others for the team’s benefit

Although the stats sheets may not display it, Haslem played a vital role in boosting Miami’s chances throughout his career. Recently, he went on record to claim that the side wouldn’t have won either of their rings from the early 2010s if not for him. In the same interview, the center-forward spoke about how he helped the team to remain focused in the key moments. Speaking with GQ, Udonis referenced his Lakers counterpart while addressing how the team stayed determined during the 2020 NBA Finals.

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Oct 22, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) argues with referee Justin Van Duyne (64) in the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. The Suns defeated the Lakers 115-105. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“I didn’t speak to nobody,” said Haslem regarding his bubble activities last year. “I only stayed in my room or played cards with Jimmy [Butler]. Even LeBron, as much as I love Bron, I didn’t hang out with Bron one time in the bubble. My guys need to understand what we’re here for. They’re young; they don’t need to see me kickin’ it with Bron, playing cards with Bron. We here for a reason. I want to beat Bron. I don’t need you confused! They don’t understand how I can kick it with somebody and wanna rip their head off.”

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It was a brutal set of words of advice from the Miami legend. Playing a massive role in making his players fit the ‘Heat culture’ aesthetic, Udonis Haslem surely still has the drive to succeed. Can his team defy all odds and bring back the coveted crown to Miami beach?

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

436 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is an NBA and Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football and table tennis. Sankalp idolises Roger Federer and Stephen Curry, and has an inherent love for statistics.

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