One of the big losers of the coronavirus fallout has been Miami Heat icon Udonis Haslem.
The big man, who many expected to retire at the end of the 2019-20 season, lamented to the Miami Herald about not closing his career the way he wanted.
“It’s hard to really say now because all the things that I really wanted at the end have been taken away from me,” said Haslem. “You want to walk away on your own terms, that has been taken away. You want an opportunity for the people that have loved and supported you and sacrificed so much for you to be here in this time of your career, that has been taken away. And you want to have something connected with the organization when you walk away.”
As a result of the novel coronavirus, the NBA suspended the 2019-20 campaign back in March.
Even if the league were to resume the season, fans are not expected to be in attendance. In addition, the NBA is looking into holding the remainder of the season in one central, closed location.
Therefore, Haslem wouldn’t get the ideal farewell in Miami if he chose to call it quits this year.
The 39-year-old is the heart and soul of the Heat. While he doesn’t have fancy accolades like franchise greats Dwyane Wade or Alonzo Mourning, the veteran has provided a myriad of the most valuable intangibles of team success.
Known as an enforcer, the pugnacious power forward has always stood up for teammates and defended the franchise like his own family.
While Haslem had the opportunity to go to other teams for more money, he chose to stick with the Heat for the the long haul. Among active players, he is the longest-tenured guy with the same team in the entire association.
Although he rarely plays now, the three-time champion has shifted his role to raising up the Heat’s callow youth base.
The 17-year pro is the Heat’s all-time leading rebounder.