Udonis Haslem is one member of the Miami Heat who has earned a right to have his name forever in the team’s record books.
He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003 after playing professional basketball in France for a year. The only route that he could take to get to the NBA was to lose weight and redefine his identity as a player. Haslem was a 300-pound undersized center who was not a great rebounder during his four years at University of Florida. He is now the Heat’s all-time leading rebounder and has made a career of being a hardworking undersized power forward not to mention his role as a player and leader on both Heat championship teams.
So why does he deserve to be right next to former Heat star center Alonzo Mourning in the franchise record books?
How about because after winning a championship in 2006 and after the Heat signed power forward Chris Bosh to a six-year $110.1 million in the summer of 2010, Haslem declined offers for more money from a number of teams. Haslem passed on the biggest contracts he could ever have in his career. Not to mention the fact that he would no longer be starting for the Heat.
Haslem did something that most athletes don’t do in modern sports and that is take less money to become a back-up. For a player who worked so hard just to get a chance to even compete to make a roster spot on a team not to jump at the first opportunity to make more money is a very honorable deed.
Haslem’s NBA journey makes his record of 4,819 rebounds for his career more respectable and deserved.