Udonis Haslem speaks out on his 20th season: ‘This ain’t no damn charity case…this is a sacrifice’

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Veteran Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem had a thankful message for the franchise’s culture, saying that it “saved” him.

Haslem explained how Heat culture has helped several players, including himself, have NBA careers because they were willing to sacrifice and put in the work. He is hoping to continue paying forward the benefits he’s received from buying into the culture in the 2022-23 season.

Via Tim Reynolds:

Udonis Haslem

The 42-year-old has been a fixture on Miami’s roster since the 2003-04 season. Even though he no longer plays major minutes for the Heat, Haslem is a leader in the locker room and on the bench during games.

A three-time NBA champion, Haslem is one of the most respected figures in the NBA, and the Heat have kept him on the roster for several seasons because of his invaluable leadership qualities.

During the 2021-22 season, Haslem appeared in 13 games for Miami. He averaged 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.1 blocks per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.

Haslem played an integral role on Miami’s championship teams with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh as well as when the Heat won the title with Wade and Shaquille O’Neal in the 2006 NBA Finals.

His championship pedigree is something the Heat are hoping will help lead their team in the 2022-23 season. Miami came up just short of the NBA Finals in the 2021-22 season, losing in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Boston Celtics.

With Haslem returning for another season, he clearly believes that helping this team is a lot bigger than himself, which is why he is such a respected player in Heat franchise history.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.