The Sun Sentinel recently did an article about Heat tri-captain Udonis Haslem and hos his new role with the team is as more of a mentor than as a member of the rotation. He has taken it upon himself to guide the team’s group of young players who represent the next generation of the franchise.
Haslem was undrafted and signed by the Heat jut prior to the 2003-2004 season. He immediately became a member of the rotation and became a starter the next year as the complement to the newly acquired Shaquille O’Neal. Haslem was a perennial starter at the power forward spot from 2004-2009, when he moved to sixth man in favor of Michael Beasley. After the Big Three were formed, Haslem continued his role as the sixth man and helped the Heat win back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Nowadays, he mostly sits the bench, but his impact is still great as a mentor. Let us also not forget that UD is from none other than Miami an went to the University of Florida.
Haslem does not get a lot of credit for how much he did for Heat. He, along with Wade, has been there his whole career and is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. He is one of my all-time favorite players because he’s like a work horse. He was a great defender, terrific rebounder, and a deadly mid-range jumpshooter (with that well-known “beside the head” lift shot). He will always be remembered for his time with the Heat and I will not be surprised if his jersey is hanging in the rafters of the AAA in the future.
When he retires, he will leave the Heat as the franchise leader in rebounds, second in games played, and seventh in total points. Truly an all-time great in South Florida. He will be missed, but there is no one better I would want to see as a mentor/advisor for the young guns.