Monday, October 10, 2016

Red, White & Pink game always has special meaning for Heat, Haslem

The fight against cancer will always be an important one for Heat captain Udonis Haslem.

Udonis Haslem 2In July 2010, he lost his mother Debra at age 53 to cancer. Two years earlier, his stepbrother Sam Wooten died from cancer.

"It's always going to be a constant battle for me to continue to try to fight, to find some kind of away to stop this terrible disease," Haslem, 36, said Monday morning before the Heat's third annual "Red, White and Pink" scrimmage to raise money for breast cancer awareness and the Miami Cancer Institute.

"I'm not a man of a pink, but I will be wearing pink just to show support and continue to show unity and strength as we fight," Haslem continued. "It's a devastating disease."

Among the cooler scenes from Monday night's scrimmage is when players, coaches and staff joined breast cancer survivors on the court and hugged them. 

"I mean they're my heroes," said Haslem, who has been a part of the Heat's tradition of hugging breast cancer survivors each of he last two years.

"People look to us as basketball players and they say you're my hero. But to me, my Mom was my hero. She was the strongest person I ever met from fighting drug addiction, homelessness, fighting cancer.  So, those kind of people are my kind of heroes. Those are people who inspire me. Basketball is just a game. These people fight in life and that's a fight beyond anything that basketball can ever present or challenge us."

Coach Erik Spoelstra said it was great to share the Heat's tradition of honoring breast cancer survivors with a new roster.

"We try to emphasize that with our guys all the time -- it can be more than just a game," he said. "But it's an incredible platform. We're so fortunate to be in this profession and this shines and incredible light and we love it. To see the response of the survivors, I can't wait for this group to see it. Because it really is a touching moment when we're all able to go out there and hug and share."

The game was streamed on Heat.com

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Udonis Haslem says he's going to 'damn sure try' to make sure he and Dwyane Wade finish their careers together

There was a moment Saturday morning during Dwyane Wade's final good-bye event here in Coconut Grove that you genuinely felt the love the 12-time All-Star has for Udonis Haslem.

"UD has been by my side for 13 years. Listen you know how we are. We are macho men. So we don't say a lot of stuff to each other that we say to others. But I love that man," Wade said at his first annual six-mile CommUNITY Bike Ride event in Coconut Grove.

"One of the hardest things about me leaving this city was that I wasn't going to be playing with UD anymore, that I wasn't going to be in the same locker room with him. That was the hardest decision for me.

"Like we always say 'Blood couldn't make us any closer.' I appreciate this guy for all the fines he took for sticking up for me. If I scored 20,000 points I'll give him 10,000 for the screens he set for me to get there. I did the rest. But he did the beginning part of it. This is just mutual respect. This is a brother. I made a promise to him that we were going to finish our career together. As of now, I didn't hold up my end of the bargain. So I've got to make it up to him eventually. But this is my brother man. And I love this guy."

Haslem was the only former Heat teammate at Saturday's event -- the last Wade will have in Miami before heading to Chicago to begin playing with the Bulls. While Heat fans are still heartbroken over Wade's departure, it's clear Wade hasn't completely gotten over the breakup either.

More than anything, though, he's going to miss the city, his multi-million dollar water front home and Haslem, who broke into the league with him back in 2003.

"You know that song there's level to this, there's going to be levels to this," Wade said. "It's not an overnight thing. I talked to Chicago and they understand that. I'm trying to get adjusted to it. I've been in one NBA city for 13 years in my career. It's different. But I'm a guy who is a fast learner. I am going back to familiar territory in the sense of my family is in Chicago. But it's going to be different. But I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life and it starts in a bout a week and a half. I'm excited. It's my 14th year in my career. That's one thing I always told myself: as long as I'm excited to keep playing this game and I'm excited to go in the gym and work out and keep doing all the things I need to do I'm going to keep going. I have excitement and I just want to keep going."

Wade wants to keep going for now. So does Haslem. And if there's a chance they could reunite one day they'd both love it.

"Sometimes people say that blood is thicker than water. But with me and this guy it's not about blood. It's about the blood we put in, the sacrifices we put in and everything we went through together," said Haslem, who spent a lot of time with Wade this summer, traveling to as far as China with him.

"I really can't say much. One thing is when you have a real relationship with somebody you support them through thick and thin. He's done a lot for this city, he's done a lot of me, so we appreciate him. No matter where he is and where he goes we'll continue to support him because we're family."

So is there a realistic chance Haslem and Wade could be reunited?

"I'm going to damn sure try," Haslem told me. "I mean, I don't know. I guess I've got to wait until next summer to see how that goes. But, I never give up without a fight. So there's ain't no time to start now."

Would Haslem consider leaving the Heat to do so?

"I didn't say that," Haslem said. "I was thinking more him of him coming here. I never said that. I won't ever say that. When I said play with him again, I never said leave.

"He's trying to sell his house down here. I might just buy it and hold it for him."

It's hard to imagine how Wade could end up back in a Heat uniform, though, at this point. He and Pat Riley still haven't communicated since Wade left. And that was more than two months ago.

I asked Wade if he had received that carefully, crafted email Riley said he was going to send him.

"That's the funny thing about phones -- spell check sometimes mess it up," Wade said. "I haven't received it yet. But I'm sure it's coming."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Haslem planning offseason workouts with Bosh, assumes he will play next season

Udonis Haslem claims he doesn't have any inside information.

Haslem BoshHe says he didn't ask Chris Bosh -- when the two hung out together last week to watch Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Bosh's house -- if Bosh, an 11-time All-Star, will definitely be back on the court when the Miami Heat reunites in late September and begins practicing again. 

But as far as he knows, Haslem, a 13-year Heat veteran, said Thursday, he's operating under the assumption Bosh, who missed the second half of the season for the second year in a row following another bout with blood clots, will be playing and not sitting on the sideline for the Heat next season.

"We didn't speak about it, but that's what I'm assuming," Haslem said Thursday after he drove over to South Broward High School and posed for photos and signed autographs for dozens of kids at a Miami Heat youth basketball camp. "I don't know much, but as far as I know that's what I'm assuming."

"His spirits are well," Haslem continued. "We talked about this summer. We're planning on getting a couple workouts in together. Like I said, I've already started my workouts. We talked about getting some workouts in together, spending some time together this summer out there in L.A.

"I asked him how he was feeling and he said he was feeling good. Actually said he feels great. Those were his exact words: 'I feel great.'"

The Heat have not updated Bosh's status since Pat Riley's end of the season press conference saying then that the team remains hopeful and is working toward getting Bosh back on the court next season.

'FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH'

Haslem, who turned 36 last week, said he still feels like he can play at least another three seasons. Haslem, who becomes a free agent on July 1, is a player Riley referred to as "a forever guy" for the Heat.

"If you talk to the right guys they'll teach you where to find the fountain of youth," Haslem said. "Hanging out with Juwan [Howard] the last couple years he gave me a couple tips on how to find the fountain of youth. There's only a few guys that know the directions. Me, Juwan, Richard Jefferson, Dwyane [Wade] has found it.

"It starts up in here," Haslem said pointing to his head. "It starts up in your mind. That's where you start the process and the plans. I feel good man. Obviously my minutes [were] limited so I didn't have to play that much. I've really been able to save my body a lot. I feel fine. I'm in the weight room a couple times a week, continuing to keep the body strong. Rehabbing on my plantar fascia that I tore. [I'm] just working on the body. Right now that's the most important thing."

Haslem tore the plantar fascia in his left foot near the end of the regular season. He played through the pain in the playoffs and provided some valuable minutes in the series victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

"When you pop it or tear it, it's almost like a surgery in itself," Haslem said of the tear. "That's the way they explained it to me. That's something where it doesn't really matter your age. It can happen to a young person or when you're old. The recovery is the same."

Haslem said he expects to be fully healed in about a month and a half. 

"I know for sure I've got two years in me," Haslem said. "Two years ago I had to come in and play -- Hassan [Whiteside], Bird, everybody was out. I gave solid minutes, played well. This year we were in the playoffs -- Game 6 in Charlotte. I can be ready in those type of situations for a couple years. I mean, honestly, I can play in a situation where I can play 10 to 15 to 20 minutes a night honestly if I had to. But that's just not the situation I'm in so.

"I keep my notes, though. I watch these guys around the league. I watch the guys around my age -- the David Wests, the Richard Jeffersons, the guys that are getting consistent minutes that are in the rotation and you know I'm very realistic about who I am and what I am at this age. So I watch those guys and see what those guys do and I take notes. I feel like if I'm a little bit above the level those guys are at as far as how I take care of my body and keep myself in shape. Like I said, those guys contibute minutes at their age. I can as well."

Heat lifer Udonis Haslem pulling for friend LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers

Udonis Haslem has been watching the NBA Finals with a rooting interest. 

He wants his buddies LeBron James and James Jones -- former Heat teammates -- to win the NBA title.

LeBorn-UDThat might sound like blasphemy to diehard Heat fans still hung up on the fact James jilted the Heat to return to Cleveland and play hometown hero. But not to Haslem, who obviously still maintains a close relationship with his former Heat teammates.

"I would love to see those guys get a ring," Haslem said Thursday after signing autographs and posing for pictures at one of the Heat's local youth basketball camps at South Broward High School. "If they lose, it's no sweat off my back. But if they win -- obviously with the relationship I have with them -- I'd be very happy for them."

The Cavs entered Game 6 of the NBA Finals Thursday night trailing the Warriors 3-2 in the series. But Haslem said he felt good about Cleveland's chances of pushing the series to at least seven games.

"I've been watching a little bit," Haslem said of the Finals. "Cleveland played great [in Game 5]. LeBron played great. Kyrie [Irving] played great. That's the kind of performance they needed to stay alive. I think they've got a chance tonight. I think they've found something with kind of sliding Richard Jefferson into that starting lineup a little bit. That's kind of worked out well for them. Even with Draymond [Green] in the game I still think its probably their best lineup to start the game with. I think Kevin Love will get going. If he gets going that only makes them more dangerous. But I think they win tonight and I think they push it to seven.

"I wasn't saying that earlier, but I'm singing a different tune now."

Back in March, LeBron paid Haslem quite the compliment when he said the Cavaliers lacked an enforcer like Haslem, who obviously helped James win two titles with the Heat.

Haslem, who turned 36 last week, will become a free agent on July 1. He said last month during the Heat's playoff run he felt like he could have played more minutes than he did this season and was frustrated by his lack of playing time.

Haslem reiterated Thursday he feels like he can give a team "10 to 15 to 20 minutes" a game if needed and that he's in good enough shape to play at least another two seasons. 

At his end of the season press conference last month, team president Pat Riley referred to Haslem as "a forever guy" with the Heat along with Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning.

Still, could you imagine if Haslem left the Heat to join LeBron in Cleveland? I'm not sure how Riley and Heat nation would swallow that one. 

Or, maybe Haslem knows something we don't. Maybe if the Cavs win, LeBron will come back to Miami. 

Or, maybe he's just being a good friend. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wade, Haslem show off lip sync talents, dance moves on Heat Media Day

He's 33 and entering his 13th season in the NBA, but Dwyane Wade hasn't stopped having fun. 

Monday at Heat Media Day he and captain Udonis Haslem produced the following music videos for the world to enjoy. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Would you vote for Udonis Haslem for mayor of Miami?

Erik Spoelstra made an off-hand comment after Tuesday night's game that Udonis Haslem would one day be mayor of Miami. Naturally, I asked Haslem if he seriously would consider politics upon retirement.

Answer: Yes.

"I plan on it," Haslem said. "I hope so. I definitely know what I need to fix."

Of course, politics is nothing new for former basketball players. Abraham Lincoln practically invented the pick and roll and Jimmy Carter once dunked over a turnip truck. Udonis Haslem says he would start with the children and "work my way up."

"The youth is where it starts at -- misguided, mislead and also misunderstood," Haslem said. "I'd definitely start at the bottom."

Haslem says he wouldn't be alone in his quest. Heat sharp shooter James Jones would be a key member of the braintrust. Like Haslem, Jones is from Miami.

"Me and [James Jones] think about it," Haslem said. "If I run for mayor then somehow I've got to figure out a way to involve J.J. He's from the community as well and we both care a lot about this community, its youth and these kids."

So, would you vote for Haslem?

-joe

Friday, December 02, 2011

Treatment for Haslem's foot was hard to find during lockout

Udonis_haslem--300x300NBA players recovering from injuries were among those most affected by the lockout. Players such as a Heat forwards Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller were not allowed to work team trainers. For Haslem, it made for a frustrating rehabilitation process.

Haslem's foot injury (fractured Lisfranc) requires a special tape job before each workout. During the lockout, he had trouble finding trainers who could do the work properly. Heat physician Harlan Selesnick gave Haslem the name of the name of the procedure to properly tape his foot and Haslem went looking for trainers who could do it. Haslem used trainers at UM and in Portland when he went and worked out with Dwyane Wade for a week.

"A lot of people really didn't know how to do it," Haslem said.

Haslem said on Friday that he was in pain for an entire year do the injury.

"I wouldn't wish that on anybody," Haslem said.

-joe

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Heat players lose $8 million in salary with first missed paychecks

So, Heat fans, anyone out there having trouble paying the bills lately? Is the rent TOO DAMN HIGH!?! Check out these numbers.

Players missed their first paychecks on Tuesday. Here's a breakdown of how much each player lost, based on the commonly used contractual formula that each player is paid 1/110th of their total contract each game. These figures include the eight preseason games that were never played and the regular season's first six games. (Players are paid per game. And, obviously, we can debate the merits of these numbers all day based on a new CBA, prorated salaries and everything else. But, you get the point: It's a lot of money.)

LEBRON JAMES
Total 2011-12 contract: $16,022,500 Miami-heat-dancers-2
Per game: $145,659.09
First paycheck: $2,039,227.27

CHRIS BOSH
Total 2011-12 contract: $16,022,500
Per game: $145,659.09
First paycheck: $2,039,227.27

DWYANE WADE
Total 2011-12 contract: $15,512,000
Per game: $141,018.18
First paycheck: $1,974,254.54

MIKE MILLER
Total 2011-12 contract: $5,400,000
Per game: $49,090.90
First paycheck: $687,272.72

UDONIS HASLEM
Total 2011-12 contract: $3,780,000 Heat_natalia_natalie_odaymis
Per game: $34,363.63
First paycheck: $481,090.90

JOEL ANTHONY
Total 2011-12 contract: $3,600,000
Per game: $32,727.27
First paycheck: $458,181.81

EDDIE HOUSE
Total 2011-12 contract: $1,399,507
Per game: $12,722.79
First paycheck: $178,119.07

MARIO CHALMERS (Restricted free agent/team option)
Total 2011-12 contract: $1,091,100
Per game: $9,919.09
First paycheck: $138,867.27

DEXTER PITTMAN
Total 2011-12 contract: $788,872
Per game: $7,171.56
First paycheck: $100,401.89

Total amount in lost wages: $8,096,642.74

Also, the Heat's dancers (pictured) are losing money.

-joe

Monday, June 13, 2011

Complete letdown

Let's start with this: The Mavericks are an amazing team, winning with jump shooters like no other team in recent history. Dirk Nowitzki is a nightmare for defenses and the best shooting big man this league has ever seen. Jason Terry is one heck of a shooter and doesn't get enough credit for being as fast as he is and destructive to a defense in the halfcourt. J.J. Barea and Jason Kidd are both so different but have such an impact in games. And Tyson Chandler is one of the most disruptive forces in the paint, defensively.

"When are people going to talk about the purity of our game?" Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "That's what's special."

But those who were looking at the Heat and wondering why this team failed, as opposed to simply seeing why the Mavericks succeeded, you have plenty to look at. Bron loss

For starters, of course, there is LeBron James. Anyone who says it wasn't obvious that LeBron's nerves got the best of him either wasn't paying attention or didn't want to see it. James himself addressed it after the game, but it wasn't entirely convincing. Certainly not as convincing as what everyone saw happen on the court. There were clanked free throws, hesitant drives, horrible misses within 12 feet and a lot, lot more.

"Sometimes you got it, sometimes you don't," LeBron said. "That was the case in this series.

"Once you get to the playoffs, every game is pressure. It doesn't matter which round it is, once you get to the postseason, every possession counts."

Sounds like a reasonable explanation, but not true. Pressure's greater in this series, especially since he's never really been in this place. He has never been in the Finals expected to win it.

Dwyane Wade looked like it was a bit too much to ask for him to carry the team again, with the series on the line. He was spending his energy arguing with refs. He was committing mindless turnovers. He never got on a run that you'd expect him to go on at home.

Chris Bosh never got enough of an opportunity to make an impact in the game. He needed just nine shots to score 19 points. That was the story of his season. If he didn't force himself into the action, he wasn't going to get enough looks. In this one, with both Wade and LeBron not being themselves, it was probably up to Erik Spoelstra to get Bosh more looks, but that never happened.

"I was frustrated," Bosh said. "I would've liked to get more inovled. But I was just playing the game as it went. Looking back at it, I had it going a little bit. I was in a good place for the game.

"I just don't know what to say, man. Yeah, I should've shot the ball way more."

Probably the most damning quote from any of the Heat players was this from Wade:

"Their resolve was stronger than ours in this series."

For those wanting a reason not to be upset, to put this loss in a happier perspective, there are these words from Udonis Haslem.

"We haven't accomplished what we're going to accomplish," he said. "This just wasn't our time. Look back from where we started. We were complete strangers to one another on and off the court. To get to this point is a pretty good accomplishment."

Monday, June 06, 2011

Different story

That was about as intense an NBA Finals game as you'll see.

Superstars performing (one of them, Chris Bosh, when you least expected it), defenses ratcheted up, the game tied three times in the final 2:30 and a road team coming out victorious.

There were so many reasons the Heat was able to recover and win this game following that crushing Game 2 loss. But the most telling sequence happened, fittingly, at the end.

With the score tied at 84-84, it was Dwyane Wade who was chosen for closing duties. He had been the more effective offensive player throughout the game (his defense and rebounding wasn't too shabby, either), so unlike Game 2 when LeBron James was initiating the offense, Wade started the play.

Wade-Kidd And he finished it. Having hit a three just a couple minutes earlier, Wade had the confidence to pull up over Jason Kidd for a long two that gave Miami the lead.

That said a lot about Wade and his aggressiveness, as well as LeBron's willingness to step aside in the big moment, even in the Finals.

After Dirk Nowitzki tied the game, the Heat lulled itself to sleep and had a 24-second violation. But the next possession, after a Jason Terry miss, the Heat turned that around entirely.

Miami ran a screen-roll with Wade and LeBron, something the team hadn't done all game. The initial option wasn't available because the Mavs bigs were more than willing to help and clog the paint. So Udonis Haslem set a screen to free up Bosh, who hit the game-winning shot on a pass from LeBron.

It was execution at its best, even when the first option wasn't there. It was exactly what the Heat hadn't done in Game 2, and it's what the Heat struggled with midseason when it kept losing close games.

The fact that it was Bosh who hit it after a fairly bad first three quarters only adds to the Heat's confidence level going forward. This moment isn't too big for him, either, regardless of what his stat lines have said.

On the next Mavs possession, the Heat defense that was absent for the final 7:14 on Thursday showed up again. Fittingly, it was Wade who forced Nowitzki into a turnover with a hard double-team as he made his move against Udonis. Dirk, stuck in the air and fearful that Wade would block him if he shot it, threw a ball to the corner intended for Shawn Marion. But Marion was cutting to the basket, giving the Heat the ball.

Of course, Haslem's defense on Dirk in the final four seconds was plenty good enough to force the miss, and the Heat came out with a crucial Game 3 win.

Just those last two minutes told the story of a team that wasn't going to make the same mistakes it did in Game 2.

The rest of the game showed plenty as well, from LeBron attacking the basket to the Heat defense forcing 14 turnovers and Miami scoring 40 points in the paint compared to Dallas' 22.

Wade, though, was the difference maker both with his numbers, his effort and his leadership. He wasn't afraid to tell anyone what he was thinking, and that includes LeBron and Bosh.

"First and foremost, he pushed himself," Bosh said of Wade. "He played spectacular basketball. He was aggressive and took good shots. He set the tone for us.

"When a guy like that is really getting on you and demanding more, that’s what team is all about."

What this game also showed is that the Mavericks are going to fight every step of the way. If the Heat's going to come out victorious in this series, it will take this type of consistent effort from start to finish. If there are anymore lapses like the one that cost Miami Game 2, Dallas is more than ready to pounce and steal this series.


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