Skip to main content

HOW A SINGLE PLAY CHANGED HASLEM'S LIFE “Something as small as that was huge and catapulted my career”

Udonis-Haslem

If there's a player that personifies the Miami Heat, it wouldn't be Dwyane Wade or Alonzo Mourning. That title would go to Udonis Haslem. His story represents "the Heat way" - hard work, complete dedication, no excuses.

After going undrafted in 2002, Haslem signed for Chalon-Sur-Saône in France. He arrived there, weighing nearly 300 pounds. Eight months later, he was at 250. Udonis came back to the US and received an invitation to work out for his hometown Miami Heat. Haslem was born in Miami, went to elementary school, high school and college in Miami - playing for the Heat would be a dream come true. 

But, getting a roster spot through training camps is the longest of shots. Haslem was ready to stand out from the group of 4 or 5 guys fighting for the same spot there. Upon arrival, he realized it was more like 40 to 50 guys. His confidence started to drop. Udonis wasn't sure was he there because the Heat liked him or just as an extra to provide competition for the real candidates?

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

U.D. came prepared to stand out in a group of 5. He now had to stand out in a group of 50. His mentality stayed the same; Haslem was ready to show he was ready to go the extra mile.

“For me, it was the simplest play that defined my career early, who I was and what type of person I was. Practicing one day, we going 5-on-5, we going live, shot goes off, and the ball bounces off, rolls towards half-court. Everybody stops - I just chase it, and I grab it. Coach Riley blows the whistle and asks me, "Why didn't you stop?" At this point, I think I did something wrong. I was like, "Nobody blew the whistle; the play was still going" Literally, something as small as that was huge and catapulted my career.”

Udonis Haslem, Officialize

Later that day, Riley called Haslem into his office to let him know he made the team and will be playing for the Miami Heat. 857 games later, Udonis Haslem is a 3 time NBA champion and banked in over $60 million.

Second in minutes (behind Dwyane Wade) and first in rebounds, Haslem's placement in Heat history books let you know what kind of player he is and why Pat Riley keeps convincing U.D. to play "just one more year." All because he chased a loose ball.

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler during media day

Is Jimmy Butler the ultimate troll or a business guru?

With Jimmy Butler moving towards the latter half of his career, it seems that he wants to start building his off-court brand.

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah Show

“He never understand what it takes to be a winner” — When Michael Jordan humiliated Charles Barkley on Oprah

It’s hard to tell if Jordan took Barkley’s joke personally, but what he said next changed the vibe and the entire atmosphere in a few seconds.

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

"I don't think I could truly be happy until I retire" - DeMar DeRozan pulls the curtain back on daily rigors of NBA life

There's one thing Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is looking forward to the most when he hangs up his sneakers for good.

Venus Williams and Shaquille O'Neal

When Shaquille O'Neal lied about having affairs with Venus Williams, Cindy Crawford, and Aaliyah

Venus Williams issued a strong statement upon hearing Shaquille O'Neal's claims.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan is defended by Detroit Pistons center James Edwards

“The Bulls complained all the time” — Kevin McHale reveals why the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons hated the Chicago Bulls

Unlike Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Kevin McHale believes the physicality the Bad Boy Pistons played with was valid and it made his Celtics even better.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook still does the same offseason workout he and Kevin Durant used to do in OKC — “It definitely helps”

Russell Westbrook revealed that he has been running on sand dunes for about eight years now every offseason and it has been helping him a lot.

New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman

How Chris Kaman got Player Exclusive "Air Sasqhatuces" from Nike in 2012

After he became an All-Star in 2010, Chris Kaman triggered a clause in his Nike deal that he’d get Player Exclusives