Miami Heat legend Udonis Haslem may have retired from playing, but his presence is still completely felt within the franchise.
Bam Adebayo recently shared that Haslem will sometimes text him in the wee hours of the morning to discuss his game observations.
Some people might not be too thrilled to hear about work at 3 a.m., but Adebayo understands that’s just how obsessed Haslem is with the details and helping the Heat get back to the promised land.
“He’ll text me at 3 a.m. about a loose ball in the first two minutes of the game,” said Adebayo. “But that just speaks to who he is, how obsessed he is with the game and how obsessed he is with not only us getting wins but us getting to experience a championship.”
It has been more than a decade since Miami won an NBA championship. The franchise has come close to hoisting the trophy again in recent years, but its NBA Finals runs in the 2019-20 campaign and last season ended in heartbreak.
So far, the Heat have three championship banners in the rafters, and one of the common denominators of those successful title runs was Haslem.
The former undrafted big man out of the University of Florida was a starter for Miami when it brought home its first championship in 2006. Several years later, he continued to play a key role behind the team’s Big 3 of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh to help the Heat secure two more titles in 2012 and 2013.
Today, he serves as the organization’s vice president of basketball development, and one of his objectives is to find ways for the Heat to return to their former glory.
“He wants us to get one,” Adebayo said. “He wants us to feel what it feels like to get a championship. So the biggest thing for us is to really buy into that. He’s one of my best friends. I call him almost every day and my job is to make sure that happens.”
Considering that the current Heat roster features just a few players with championship pedigree, including Kyle Lowry, Kevin Love and Thomas Bryant, Haslem’s guidance is certainly something the team needs.
Right now, the outlook for the squad is a bit murky, as it sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a 24-18 record. What the Heat have going for them, though, is that they made it all the way to the NBA Finals despite having to go through to the play-in tournament at the start of last year’s postseason.
Moreover, with Adebayo leading the charge, Miami’s defense continues to be elite. It allows just 110.8 points per game, ranking fifth in the league in that department. If the Heat can improve their offense (111.4 points per contest), securing the title would likely become more doable.