Udonis Haslem discussed grants and scholarship opportunities Monday at Nova Southeastern University, but remained non-committal on if he would be back for a 20th season with the Miami Heat.
“I don’t know,” Haslem said after completing a presentation on behalf of his foundation. “We’re thinking about it. But either way, I’m always going to be a part of the Heat family. I ain’t going nowhere, whether I play or not. I’m always going to impact that organization.”
After losing his father Johnnie Haslem, who died last August at 70, Udonis said that the double-decade milestone is something the two discussed.
The Heat have retained a roster spot for Haslem for the coming season but it is up to the Heat legend to decide if the 42-year-old wants to return.
According to NBA.com, “Haslem is expected to become only the third player to spend an entire career of at least 20 seasons with one franchise, joining retired Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (21 seasons) and late Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (20 seasons). A return would push Haslem past former San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan and former Utah Jazz guard John Stockton, each with 19 seasons with their respective franchises.”
Haslem’s role has changed over the years but his passion and leadership remain the same. He has been a mentor for his teammates and has often provided the Heat with motivational speeches that have uplifted the team in the second half to win games.
Haslem was the oldest player in the NBA last season and would become the fifth-oldest player to appear in an NBA regular-season game.
Haslem is the Heat’s all-time leader in rebounds and became the only undrafted player to lead a franchise in rebounds. He also stands second all-time in Heat history for games and minutes played.
If this is it for UD, he will most certainly wind up with his name in the rafters, and it’s highly likely that the veteran will have his number 44 retired.