Udonis Haslem made the decision to return to the Miami Heat in his 20th season in the NBA. Despite making only 14 appearances in the last two heats of the heat season, the forward has been given a spot on the roster for as long as he chooses. While Haslem hasn’t changed the game much on the box, his impact on Heat as an outlet for Heat culture is still something Miami wants to keep. Haslem is so important to Heat’s plans that they meet him immediately after their free agent period starting at the end of June.
“This is not a damn charitable cause. This is a sacrifice. I am sacrificing for the sake of the next generation,” Haslem exclaimed in the opening sentence of his statement after being signed. The striker is an essential part of maintaining and developing the culture of the Miami Heat, a role he takes very seriously. Haslem noted that it’s this culture that helps save and make NBA jobs, and contributing to that was a key factor in his comeback.
“When you look at these unmanufactured guys, those guys who were on their way out of the league and people didn’t believe in them, people didn’t give them a chance, culture saved them. That’s why I came back. Because I watched culture save as much as it saved me,” Haslem continued.
Chase Paul is fired from Haslem’s decision to return
On Sunday, August 28, Chris Paul spoke to a group of high school basketball players in Los Angeles and expressed his support for Haslem’s return for a twentieth season in the NBA.
“You all saw those things with Odonis Haslam? You all heard him go crazy like, ‘Why is he on the team? Why is he on the team? Man, I’m probably his biggest fan. You want to know why? Because guys need vets’ They need someone like UD showing up every day, if he works out at 11:00, he’ll probably be in the gym at 8:30 every day. To motivate the guys. To push the guys,” Paul said.
Signing Haslem puts the Heat team too close to the luxury tax to sign any additional players, and that has drawn some criticism, but the Heat also knows the importance Haslem adds to the franchise and culture and doesn’t think he’s taking it. Spot off another player but help other key players to evolve.
Playing for twenty years in the NBA was a goal Haslem made with his father before his death, and now in the 2022-23 NBA season, the striker will see that goal achieved.
Pat Riley talks about Odonis Haslam jersey retirement
Haslem is such a Heat Lifer and Heat Legend that team boss Pat Riley has already ensured that his No. 40 jersey will dangle in the Heat’s beams due to the impact he’s had over twenty seasons in South Beach.
“From the first day I saw him compete, to the last day we retired his jersey to our home in FTX, UD will go down in our team’s history as one of the best players ever in the Miami Heat,” Riley said.