In humble fashion, Udonis Haslem offered a differing point of view from Dwyane Wade’s description of him having the greatest career in Miami Heat history.
The retired Haslem recently ended a long NBA career that began with a humble start and finished with the veteran’s seventh and final trip to the NBA Finals.
Growing up in South Florida, Haslem played at the University of Florida and actually began his professional basketball career by playing one year in France. In 2003, he signed a deal with the Heat as an undrafted free agent.
Over the next two decades, Haslem would make his mark in the league and establish himself as an indelible icon of the franchise. Along the way, he turned out to be an effective part of all three of the Heat’s NBA titles.
During that lengthy span of time, Haslem developed into a leader who was committed to the team and community. He never shied away from making his opinion clear on particular matters.
Beginning with the 2015-16 campaign, Haslem’s time on the court dwindled to a point that made it a rarity to see him on the court in recent years. Yet, his leadership was continually valued by the team’s coaching staff and his teammates.
When Haslem arrived to the Heat in 2003, another rookie received the lion’s share of attention. That was Wade, who was selected as the fifth overall pick of that year’s draft.
Haslem’s realistic appraisal of the two players’ impacts on Heat fortunes stems from what Wade accomplished during a legendary career. Spending the bulk of his time in the NBA with the Heat, Wade fashioned a career that culminated earlier this year when he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Wade’s bond with Haslem stems in part from their connection to all three Heat title teams. Their close friendship remains even though Wade has moved on to become a part owner of the Utah Jazz.
Given his statistical numbers, Haslem seems an unlikely candidate to join Wade in the Hall of Fame. However, his stature in Heat history certainly will rank high for years to come.