Former Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent recently recalled Udonis Haslem cussing out the Heat and throwing a chair in the Orlando, Fla. bubble.
“There are so many,” Vincent told Sportskeeda when asked what his favorite ‘Heat Culture’ story is. “In terms of the culture, that’s even tougher. One of the ones that stick out, I don’t know if it’s a quote-unquote favorite story. But in the bubble, U.D. cussed the whole team and threw a chair. That was hilarious. It was hilarious! It’s hilarious to look back on, but it summed it up. You’re able to hold your brother accountable and you’re able to be real knowing we have this collective goal in mind and you’re able to speak plainly. You get straight to the bottom of it, find a solution and move forward. We thrived down there. We’re able to have an outburst and know it’s not personal. We can take that and progress forward.”
Vincent then went on to explain the context behind that moment.
“From what I can remember, we weren’t playing hard,” he said. “I was a two-way player at the time. I wasn’t necessarily playing that game. But our overall energy and effort wasn’t where it needed to be. I think ‘Spo (Erik Spoelstra) said a few things here or there. But for whatever reason, it wasn’t fully settling into the group. I didn’t know if we were just tired or fatigued. There are a number of things that come into play with an NBA season, especially in the bubble. Not everyone is going to have a good day all the time. So sometimes you need that fire lit under you. U.D. did that. He had a great read in the locker room and created that space. That’s a credit to U.D. and his leadership and being able to have a feel for when more is needed.”
Vincent went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft following a four-season stint playing college basketball at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He averaged 10-plus points and two-plus assists in each of his four seasons as a member of the team.
Arguably Vincent’s best season of college basketball came during his junior season, the 2016-17 season. The guard averaged 14.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in 20 games played with UC Santa Barbara as a junior (18 starts).
Vincent has played four seasons in the NBA, all as a member of the storied Heat franchise. He averaged 9.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game across 68 appearances with the Heat during the 2022-23 regular season. The 27-year-old didn’t shoot the ball with great accuracy from the field, though, seeing as how he converted 40.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and 33.4 percent of his three-point attempts.
Vincent raised his level of play during the 2023 playoffs and was an invaluable part of the Heat team that made it all the way to the NBA Finals a season ago.
His best series of the playoffs came against Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. He averaged 15.8 points per game for the series while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 51.6 percent from behind the three-point arc.
The guard also played solid basketball in Miami’s first-round series against Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 13.0 points per game for the series and converted 42.4 percent of his 3-pointers.
While Vincent had a great playoff stint overall, he wasn’t perfect. After all, he struggled to score the ball efficiently in the NBA Finals against Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets. He converted 38.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and 33.3 percent of his 3-pointers during the championship series.
Here’s to hoping that Vincent will serve as an effective point guard for the storied Lakers franchise during the 2023-24 regular season and beyond.