Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem to return for his 20th NBA season
- The 2022/23 NBA season will start on October 18 and teams are busy preparing for the season
- Star forward Udonis Haslem is set to come back for his 20th NBA season, being just the fourth player to reach the bar
- Haslem will play for his longtime side Miami Heat in a record NBA appearance
Miami Heat star forward Udonis Haslem will be coming back for a record 20th NBA season. The 42-year-old revealed his decision on Sunday at his basketball camp in Miami.
“I have decided to follow through with what me and my father had talked about, and I will finish what I started and I will play 20 years,” Haslem said, seated at midcourt at Miami High, his alma mater. “I will play this year, because I talked about that with my father and that’s what we said we would do. It won’t be the same. Won’t be as easy. But the goal still remains the same. Win. Win a championship. Leave it on the line and hold your head high when it’s all over.”
Haslem’s deal is for one year and worth $2.9 million; Miami extended the offer nearly two months ago, then waited for Haslem to decide between retiring and rejoining the side.
A legend member of the Heat organization, Haslem acknowledged after the season he was unsure whether he would return for another year.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has noted repeatedly through the years how much of an impact Haslem’s presence and leadership has on the team on a day-to-day basis.
Haslem joins legends Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks as the only NBA players to play 20 or more seasons for a single franchise, since the start of the NBA.
Haslem is a three-time NBA champion with Miami and is the franchise’s all-time leader in rebounds. This contract is the 11th he has signed with the Heat, and this marks the seventh consecutive summer in which he has signed a deal with the team.
His father, Johnnie Haslem, died on Aug. 30, 2021. Udonis Haslem spent about two weeks away from the Heat at the start of camp and the preseason last year while grieving, and he said not having either of his parents still alive forced him to reevaluate many things in the past year.
“Even at 42, you look around and you don’t have both of your parents, you can be confused,” Haslem said. “It can be confusing. … But never have I been more clear than I am now. I just had to clear the cobwebs out.”
Haslem was the oldest player to appear in each of the past two NBA seasons. He got into 13 games with Miami last season, averaging 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds. He has averaged 7.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in his first 19 seasons, playing sparingly in the past six.
According to NBA stats, Haslem has also seen action in 147 postseason games (84 starts) as a member of the HEAT and averaged 5.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 21.7 minutes while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 71.3 percent from the foul line. In addition to being the HEAT’s all-time leader in offensive rebounds in postseason play.