After 20 seasons, three rings, and 879 games, Udonis Haslem announced his retirement from the NBA after the Heat fell to the Nuggets in the NBA Finals. A Heat lifer, Haslem spent all but one season of his career in South Beach. That one exception was the 2002-03 season, which he spent in France against going undrafted in 2002. However, he signed with his hometown Heat in 2003 and never looked back. He was a core piece of the team’s first championship in 2006. Additionally, he served as solid depth in the Big Three era that brought back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Haslem ended his career with a stat line of 7.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Of course, newer basketball fans might not think Haslem was anything special. After all, he didn’t play in more than 40 games in a season after the 2014/15 campaign. However, that’s because he eventually ascended the need for floor time. He became a deep bench contributor, veteran leader, team mascot, and informal coach like a true basketball renaissance man. However, Haslem is taking his talents back to South Beach in a special arrangement to be honored by the city’s MLB franchise, the Marlins.
Marlins Announce September 7 As UD Night
The Marlins announced earlier this week that Haslem would be honored with a special night on September 7. Dubbed UD Night, the game will serve as yet another tribute from the city where Haslem was born, raised, and played. Additionally, Haslem will sign a one-day contract with the Marlins and throw the first pitch. The Marlins will be taking on the Dodgers in that night’s game. As mentioned in the club’s press release, Haslem attended high school less than a mile away from the Marlins’ ballpark.
“Udonis Haslem embodies the South Florida community. It is our honor to celebrate his many accomplishments on the court and in the surrounding neighborhoods of Miami with UD Night on September 7,” said Caroline O’Connor, Marlins President of Business Operations. “We could not think of a better way to recognize his commitment to the community than by supporting his newly launched foundation with a donation from every UD Night ticket.”