Udonis Haslem estimates 90 percent of NBA players wouldn’t be able to survive Miami Heat culture

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Miami Heat legend Udonis Haslem said that 90 percent of players in the NBA wouldn’t be able to play for the franchise.

“Only about five percent of the league — I say maybe 10 percent of the league — could survive in Heat culture,” Haslem said. “45 going to bail out ’cause they got to sacrifice. And the other 45 gonna bail out ’cause they got to do the hard s— every time. So that would leave 10 percent that’s made for Heat culture.”

Haslem is one of the most decorated players in the history of the Heat franchise. While he was never a star, he served as a valuable role player on multiple Heat teams that went on to win the title.

The Heat have won three titles in the history of the franchise, with those titles coming in 2006, 2012 and 2013. Haslem was a member of all three title teams.

He arguably contributed the most to Miami’s 2006 championship, the franchise’s first-ever title. In the 2005-06 regular season, Haslem averaged 9.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.6 steals per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the field across 81 appearances with the Heat.

The big man was then able to carry over his solid production during the regular season into the 2006 playoffs. He played well against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, as he averaged 6.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game in six games played during the championship series.

The Heat beat the Mavericks in six games, and Dwyane Wade — who averaged 34.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for the series while shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 77.3 percent from the free-throw line — was named the Finals MVP for Miami.

Haslem decided to retire from the NBA following the 2022-23 season after spending 20 seasons with the Heat. He played in just seven games for the Heat during the regular season but witnessed the Heat make it all the way to the NBA Finals as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference before falling to Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets in five games.

Whether 90 percent of the players in the NBA would be unable to play for the Heat right now is certainly up for debate, but if Miami’s run to the NBA Finals last season proved anything, it’s that Heat culture is much more than just a buzzword.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.