Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem is returning for his 20th NBA season. The 42-year-old announced this on Sunday at his basketball camp in Miami.
“I’ve decided to finish what me and my dad talked about and I’m going to finish what I started and I’m going to play for 20 years,” said Haslem, who plays midcourt at Miami High, his alma Mater, sat. “I’m going to play this year because I spoke to my father about it and we said we would do it. It won’t be the same. It won’t be that easy. But the goal remains the same. Win. Win a league .Keep it on the line and keep your head up when it’s all over.
Haslem’s one-year contract is worth $2.9 million; Miami extended the offer nearly two months ago, then waited for Haslem to decide between stepping down and returning.
Haslem, a popular member of the Heat organization, admitted after the season that he wasn’t sure if he would return for another year.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has noted over the years how much of an impact Haslem’s presence and leadership has on the team on a daily basis.
Haslem is the only NBA player, along with legends Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, to have played 20 or more seasons for a single franchise, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Haslem is a three-time NBA champion with Miami and the franchise’s all-time leader in rebounding. This contract is the eleventh he has signed with the Heat and this is the seventh straight summer he has signed with the team.
His father, Johnnie Haslem, died on August 30, 2021. Udonis Haslem spent about two weeks out of the heat at the start of camp and preseason last year while he grieved, and he says none of his surviving parents forced him to do it reevaluate many things over the past year.
“Even at 42 you look around and you don’t have both parents, you can get confused,” Haslem said. “It can be confusing. … But never have I been clearer than now. I just had to clear the cobwebs.”
Haslem was the oldest player to appear in each of the past two NBA seasons. He played in 13 games with Miami last season, averaging 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds. He averaged 7.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in his first 19 seasons and has played sparingly for the past six seasons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34436848/miami-heat-udonis-haslem-says-returning-20th-nba-season Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem says he’s returning for 20th NBA season