Miami Heat bid farewell to the 20-year vet, Udonis Haslem, made NBA history

April 10, 2023

Before Udonis Haslem’s farewell game, his teammates surprised him with a rocking chair.



On Sunday, Haslem suited up for his final regular season game with the Miami Heat against the Orlando Magic. The Heat prepared for the play-in tournament by defeating the Orlando Magic 123-110 on Sunday, and James scored 24 points, his biggest scoring game since he had 28 points on November 14, 2009.



With 58.9 seconds remaining, Haslem checked out for the last time to the final of numerous standing ovations shown upon him throughout the afternoon. He shot 9-17 overall and 3-7 from beyond the arc.



“This is for everyone who has given up so much for me.” Haslem, who will retire at the end of this season (his 20th overall and all with Miami), remarked, “This is their day as much as it is mine. As I’ve said before, my 20-year relationship with this organization and this city will only deepen.”



But first, he took the stage with his family at his side and thanked his hometown fans for their twenty years of support.



Haslem remarked, “You guys always had my back and showed love whether I was starting or the first player off the bench. I didn’t play at all.” “To me, that is priceless. That’s pretty beautiful. That’s why letting go of the rest was so easy.”



Bam Adebayo, centre for the Heat, came out to disrupt the ceremony and present Haslem with a rocking chair decorated with Heat memorabilia.



Adebayo said, “There you go, man, take your seat.” Haslem finally gave in.



With 9:05 left in the first quarter, the massive moment of Haslem checking in was memorable and influential as an ovation began to develop as he made his way to the scorer’s table. Haslem made his NBA debut at 42 years, 304 days, making him the fifth-oldest player in league history. When he played in his final NBA game, he was older than Dikembe Mutombo, who had played for 42 years and 300 days.



He was quickly successful: With 6:13 remaining in the first quarter, he made a layup, then a minute later, he made a 3-pointer, becoming the second-oldest player in NBA history to do so. Only Vince Carter, at age 43, was older.



He scored 13 points in the first quarter, tied for his greatest scoring quarter ever.



Haslem will have his No. 40 retired by the Heat next season since he is the team’s all-time leader in rebounds, a three-time champion, and one of just three players (the others being Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant) to spend at least their first two decades in the NBA with the same organization.



Haslem made his seventh appearance of the year and his 65th appearance in the previous seven years. The Heat has always shown interest in having him return because of his off-court contributions and his leadership in the locker room and during practices.



”I’m going to miss his spirit,” said Coach Erik Spoelstra. “I can’t wait to hear his voice again. I won’t be able to see past his motives. He truly wants the best for the squad. He never has a bad day. He always has good intentions even if he gets angry with his colleagues or me.”



The Magic certainly caught the boat. Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley greeted Haslem at the scorer’s table before checking in, and guard Cole Anthony was among those who cheered when he entered the game.



“That man has my utmost respect,” Mosley stated. “What he has meant to this league, to this club, to this culture, to this city, and the world at large. He is unusual among men in that he has remained in the same position throughout his whole working life. I look up to that guy.”