A day after unveiling Heat Culture court, the Miami Heat announced a transaction that encapsulates the team mantra.
Franchise cornerstone Udonis Haslem is joining the Heat’s front office as vice president of basketball development. The Heat announced the hiring alongside a statement from team president Pat Riley.
“Born and raised in Miami, UD has been an integral part of the success of the Heat for 20 years,” Riley said via the statement. “It’s great that he has chosen to continue to build on his incredible legacy here in Miami, where he belongs.”
Haslem, 43, played 20 seasons in the NBA, all of them with the Heat. He’s the franchise’s all-time leading rebounder and a 16-time team captain.
His was a tenure that traversed team eras from the Shaquille O’Neal-Dwyane Wade championship in 2006 to the LeBron James-Chris Bosh-Wade era that produced two more championships to the contemporary Jimmy Butler-led era that’s seen the Heat repeatedly exceed expectations, including two trips to the NBA Finals.
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Haslem officially retired last offseason. But it had been years since he’d made a significant direct impact as a player. Haslem played in a total of 102 regular-season games in his final eight seasons. He made 25 game appearances in his last four.
The Heat didn’t keep him on the roster late in his career for his playing ability. He was a de facto coach and mentor in a uniform who embodied “Heat Culture,” helping instill the top-down team philosophy that starts with Riley.
Now that he’s officially retired, he’ll continue to do so from the front office.