20-year Heat vet to leave team after this season

"... I think at this stage, there needs to be another voice for these guys," said three-time champion Udonis Haslem.

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Udonis Haslem has confirmed that this will be his final year in the NBA as he plans to retire after 20 years with the Miami Heat, according to the Bleacher Report.

Speaking to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald on Sunday, Haslem said: “I’m done no matter what happens. I gave my contribution. I think at this stage, there needs to be another voice for these guys. It’s time for somebody to step up and be the voice.”

The Heat will honor the three-time champion over the final few weeks of the season, according to the Bleacher Report. His No. 40 jersey will be retired next season.

Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem, pictured on Nov. 14, 2022, plans to retire after 20 years the NBA. (Getty)

The 42-year-old has been a member of the Heat since 2003. Haslem is the fifth player to spend at least 19 years in the NBA with one franchise. As theGrio previously reported, Dirk Nowitzki spent 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks; the late Kobe Bryant spent 20 with the Los Angeles Lakers; Tim Duncan was with the San Antonio Spurs for 19 seasons, and John Stockton also spent 19 with the Utah Jazz.

Haslem reportedly plans to retire following the season on Aug. 21. 

News of the Miami native’s retirement has been met with mixed reactions on social media. One Twitter user proclaimed, “He’s been holding that last roster spot hostage for years now.”

Asserted a supporter: “A true Miami heat legend he was loyal to the end of his career…#udonishasslem

Another critic added, “He should’ve retired 5 years ago. He was a non-factor as a player throughout that time, and someone else could’ve had his spot & possibly made a difference for the Heat!”

From a more universal perspective source, “Respect for haslem being the voice on the team, but this team needs a younger vet. He old school, and we don’t see that era of basketball much in today’s league.”

“Dude been retired since 2008, finessing the #heat @MiamiHEAT #nba, been getting paid to clap and occasionally get in someone’s face!!,” tweeted another

Yet not everyone sees it that way. “[H]he has atleast 4 more seasons in him.”

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Section 305 in Miami-Dade Arena will be dedicated to Haslem on March 25.

“It’s going to end up being a really cool in-arena aspect that’s going to live on forever,” Heat executive vice president Michael McCullough said. 

McCullough described Haslem as “a man of the people” and noted that “he represents the 305, it worked out really, really well for us to be able to take that section and really create this Udonis tribute section.”

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