It’s been more than two decades since Udonis Haslem donned the Orange and Blue, but they say “Once a Gator, always a Gator,” right?
Well, the former Gator is making all of Gainesville (and the state of Florida) proud by reaching the NBA Finals for a seventh time with the Miami Heat – the team he’s spent his entire 20-year career with.
Sure, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Jimmy Butler have all been the faces of the various Heat teams, but Haslem is the constant – the glue, if you will – that every late millennial and Gen Z Miami fan has come to adore. He is the longest-tenured player in franchise history after all.
So, what should Heat and Gators fans expect from Haslem in what will be his final series as a member of the NBA? Not a lot. Haslem is a player mentor of sorts now that has played just two minutes throughout the team’s 18 playoff games.
He got his retirement game back in April when he dropped 24 points, which is as a good of a swan song as any.
Can't say enough about UD today. 24 points, 3 3s (career-high) and an alley oop that got everyone out of their seats 💥 pic.twitter.com/80RMGyROgR
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 9, 2023
The book is closing on UD’s career, and boy would it be nice to see him ride off into the sunset with a fourth championship to his name. While he might not be the most talented Gator to ever make it to the pros, Haslem’s legacy will likely never be forgotten in the state of Florida.
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