Justise Winslow Responds to Udonis Haslem's 'Amazing Compliment' - Heat Nation
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Justise Winslow Responds to Udonis Haslem’s ‘Amazing Compliment’

Justise Winslow and Udonis Haslem Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

The looming departure of Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade will leave a leadership void on the team that Udonis Haslem recently said could be filled by Justise Winslow.

When asked about Haslem’s endorsement, Winslow was humbled by the praise and described it as an “amazing compliment” from the veteran.

Winslow spoke about what connections he’s been able to establish with Haslem:

“Just that passion and that on-edge kind of mentality on the court. I’ve had to learn how to play with it and how to channel it in a good way because I have to play with it. I have to play with that kind of ‘[expletive] everybody else’ mentality. With that, there’s going to come times where I might be tiptoeing that line of, ‘Is it too much passion? Is it too much fierceness or competitiveness? Is it boiling over or not?’ But I have to play with it.”

Haslem made the comments and indicated how Winslow’s style is very much a mirror image of his own approach to the game:

“The kind of playing with that edge where it’s like any moment you can get thrown out, but you’re not going to get thrown out. But you play with that edge. That controlled rage, kind of compete and competition thing. I can see that in him. Obviously, to me I feel like that’s a skill and that’s a talent because a lot of people don’t play with that. A lot of people don’t play with that edge. I feel like I just relate to that.

“To me, I was him and who I am now. It’s a process, but I see him being able to be that guy just because the guy who leads has to be the guy that plays like that. You can’t lead if you don’t put it on the floor, and he puts it on the floor every night so guys will listen to what he says.”

This season, Haslem has noticed a changed demeanor from Winslow that shows him to be more willing to challenge his teammates:

“I see it. I see him stepping him. I see him getting better. I see him being more vocal. I see him putting guys in their spots. I see him holding guys accountable. I see the progression stages with him in that.”

Winslow knows that leadership goes far beyond what’s seen on each game’s stat sheet and appears ready to fully embrace the role:

“It’s lot of responsibility and it’s not for everybody. I think that’s what my potential can be. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to be the highest point total every night. It doesn’t mean I’m the go-to guy every night. But it means when our team is huddled up or we’re in the locker room or something is not going right on the practice court that I’m the voice, the guy that’s stepping up. Every locker room needs that.”

In the final months of Wade’s time with the Heat, Winslow is hoping to make the future Hall of Famer’s final season a memorable one. The next opportunity he’ll have will be Sunday night when the Heat continue their road trip with a game against the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

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