The bond between Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade was first established in 2003, when they both became members of the Miami Heat. With Haslem now set to return for his 16th season with the team, the 38-year-old veteran is making a concerted effort to make sure that Wade remains his teammate for the upcoming campaign.
Wade has yet to indicate whether or not he’ll also return for his 16th year in the NBA, though indications are that he’s leaning towards coming back. According to one report, Haslem is doing his part to convince the future Hall of Famer to return:
“Haslem said he’s busily recruiting his business partner – the pair shares several off-court interests, including a pizza chain – to come back as well.
“‘My mindset has always been for us to finish it together,’ Haslem said. ‘I want us to do a whole season together. Experience the road, dinner on the road, go through that whole process. I want us to experience that together.'”
When the two arrived at their first camp 15 years ago, the contrasts between their two situations couldn’t have been more stark. Wade was the third overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft out of Marquette University, while Haslem went undrafted out of the University of Florida.
Despite that major difference, the two quickly connected and went on to become part of all three Heat NBA title teams. Their connection was briefly severed when Wade left to play for the Chicago Bulls during the 2016-17 season and then spent the first half of last year as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, the bond was re-established when Wade was brought back last February.
While Wade has already reserved his spot in the basketball Hall of Fame, Haslem’s long career has, during the past three years years, evolved into more that of a trusted voice in the Heat locker room. Yet after Haslem officially re-signed with the Heat, Wade used social media on Monday to indicate his level of respect for the veteran:
Congrts to my brother @ThisIsUD on season number 16 coming up! You are thee most selfless person I’ve ever met!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) September 11, 2018
Haslem only played in 14 games last year, which was one reason he briefly considered playing overseas this season. After his signing, he offered a reason why he returned:
“It’s about my love for the organization and my love for the guys. It wasn’t about me. If I was looking for playing time, I could have gone someplace else or played in China or something. But at the end of the day, would it have made me as happy as being around this organization and being around these guys? No, I don’t think it would.”
It’s highly unlikely that the Heat will be challenging for an NBA title, but being able to witness both Haslem and Wade concluding their careers figures to be something that the team’s fans will look forward to seeing this year.