The Miami Heat retiring Udonis Haslem’s jersey appears to have drawn negative reactions from some folks who feel the Heat Lifer didn’t earn the honor, with Paul Pierce making his view known on the topic.
Stephen Jackson took to Instagram to shout out Haslem after the franchise raised his jersey to the rafters. But Pierce rained on the parade, seemingly rebutting Jackson’s belief that the team’s tribute for the hometown hero was earned and not given.
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Anyone basing Haslem’s legacy solely on his stats is bound to question why the Heat retired his No. 40 jersey. After all, he finished his career with averages of 7.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
However, the University of Florida product’s contributions to the team went beyond the numbers. He was an essential piece of Miami’s three championship runs, thanks in part to his intangibles and leadership in the locker room.
Haslem’s impact away from basketball is also worth mentioning. His philanthropic endeavors and love for the community have made him a beloved figure in the city. He even established his own foundation in 2005, when he was still early into his professional playing career.
So, for the Heat organization and its fans, the longtime captain’s jersey retirement was a matter of when and not if.
Miami and Boston met in the playoffs three straight times from 2010 to 2012. While the Celtics defeated the Heat in the first round of the 2010 playoffs, Haslem and company got some vengeance by eliminating Boston in the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals and 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.
Pierce’s lone postseason run as a member of the Nets in the 2013-14 campaign also ended at the hands of Miami.
Haslem has had a lengthy beef with the Hall of Famer. Several months ago, he called out Pierce for undermining Dwyane Wade’s legacy. Then, late last year, he reiterated his disdain for Pierce and his former teammate, Kevin Garnett.
Udonis Haslem on his hate for the Celtics
“I like Tatum, brown, but them old Mfers KG and Paul, I don’t f*ck with yall”
“If I see yall in the grocery store its on, it can be aisle 7/11 around the cheese dip, all of its getting flipped over”
That’s my captain! 😭🔥 pic.twitter.com/CC89hULHmh
— Emo Jimmy (@WheelerJaylen) December 27, 2023
It remains to be seen if the 43-year-old will catch wind of Pierce’s recent Instagram comment and respond.