Udonis Haslem breaks silence following Jayson Tatum’s perceived shot at Miami Heat

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics have used some of their time celebrating their 2024 NBA title to throw shade at the Miami Heat, and former Heat player Udonis Haslem is now responding to recent comments made by Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

During an event at TD Garden, Tatum was asked if a celebratory trip to Miami in the aftermath of Boston’s title victory was sweeter than other visits. He said that all trips to Miami are easy, which drew a somewhat humorous response from Haslem.

“I think he’s still drunk from the party,” Haslem said. “He’s gotta be a little tipsy from the party, there’s no way he could believe that.”

The Heat and Celtics have collided multiple times in recent years as each has tried to reach the NBA Finals, with Boston regaining the upper hand during the 2024 NBA Playoffs with a five-game, first-round triumph against Miami. The Celtics ultimately defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Finals to earn the 18th championship in their franchise history.

“It’s OK, that’s what he’s supposed to say,” Haslem said of Tatum. “Congratulations to the Boston Celtics. I ain’t gonna be no hater, we understand they’re the champs. We’re going to get fully healthy, then we’ll see what happens.”

Miami eliminated Boston in the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals to earn its berth in the 2023 NBA Finals, which the Heat lost to the Denver Nuggets.

The Heat and Celtics also met in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, with Boston winning, while Miami earned a series victory in the teams’ 2020 Eastern Conference Finals matchup. Neither team went on to capture a title until this year, with Boston losing to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals and Miami falling to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020 NBA Finals.

Haslem did not participate in the 2024 NBA Playoffs, having retired following the 2022-23 season. He won three NBA championships during 20 seasons as a player with the franchise (2006, 2012, 2013), defeating the Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals on the way to that year’s championship.

In addition to currently serving as an executive in the Heat organization, the 44-year-old is making a name for himself in the media with several recent appearances on ESPN. He hasn’t been afraid to defend the Heat during his media run, with Haslem calling out hate directed at them and maintaining that they still can challenge the Celtics for Eastern Conference supremacy going forward.

With Tatum still in his prime and the Celtics likely to remain title contenders as well, the war of words between the two sides isn’t likely to end at any point in the near future.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.