Heat Coach Reveals Unintended Impact of Udonis Haslem’s Special Night: “It’s Remarkable”

Published 01/19/2024, 11:25 PM EST

Follow Us

USA Today via Reuters

The big night finally arrived as we saw number ’40’ all over the Kaseya Center today. The Miami Heat added one of the most impactful players in franchise history, Udonis Haslem, to the rafters. Ahead of the game against the Atlanta Hawks, head coach Erik Spoelstra opened up on the huge impact UD had on the organization for two decades. While Miami wasn’t able to get the win on this special night, the ceremony at half-time got Haslem emotional.

America’s Favorite Video Today

We have seen very few stars who have played their entire career for the same organization. Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki are the first names that come to mind, and Haslem is one of them as well. The Heat have created some memorable moments over the last two decades. Haslem has been a part of each one of those moments. And this is why Spoelstra believes there will never be another Haslem. The head coach said “It’s remarkable” to see how one man’s story has all the best moments of the organization. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Haslem was rarely the best player on the court, averaging 7.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in his career. He didn’t get many individual accolades, either. However, many stars of the franchise like Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal have called Haslem the Miami Heat GOAT. The 43-year-old’s impact went way beyond the court.

Haslem played a total of 65 games in his last 7 seasons with the Heat. That’s not even equivalent to one full NBA season! But he was always present on the bench, guiding the younger stars suiting up for the Florida team. After winning 3 NBA championships, Haslem helped the Heat to two more Finals appearances in the past 4 years. He embodied the revered Heat culture and set certain standards at the franchise.

Haslem’s contribution is irreplaceable, and the Miami Heat takes pride in him but all this might have happened a year earlier had UD had his way.

Watch this story: “Newark local Austin Reaves gets brutally honest about Los Angeles lifestyle”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Erik Spoelstra played a part in re-signing Udonis Haslem

Haslem was supposed to retire a season ago. He had already completed 19 seasons and he wasn’t fit enough to compete at a high level due to his age. However, his guidance and motivation were much needed. The Heat did not want to lose such a veteran just like that. President Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra talked Haslem into signing for another year for $2.9 million.

Well, that did work great for the Heat. They were off to a rocky start last season but made it all the way to the NBA finals. Although Haslem couldn’t win his fourth ring, he proved his value in his 20th season. The mental strength that the 3x champion brought in is irreplaceable. Miami Heat will miss that the most in their next few years or until they find a new one.

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest NBA stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

What are your thoughts on the above story? Share your take in the comments below.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Rohan Dharmalingam

1,012Articles

One take at a time

I could have never imagined getting a shoutout from Los Angeles Lakers icon Shaquille O'Neal and the rap legend 50 Cent on Instagram. But they say 'Dreams Do Come True' right? This is what EssentiallySports has given me. Covering trade rumors, contract signings, lives of NBA superstars and legends has been my go-to thing.
Show More>

Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today