Haslem Attends HEAT Camp, Addresses Future

HOLLYWOOD, FL, 6/15 – There is no better word that describes Udonis Haslem’s game than “intangible.” So it was fitting that HEAT Broadcaster and Camp Director Tony Fiorentino’s word of the day for his young campers was one that embodied the seven-year veteran so well. 

“If it wasn’t for Udonis Haslem,” said Fiorentino, “the HEAT wouldn’t have won the championship in 2006. What Haslem brings to the table cannot be quantified. His grit, hard work, hustle, and toughness cannot be measured in the boxscore, but they all contribute to the team’s success.” 

On Tuesday, Haslem visited HEAT Camp Presented By Gatorade at South Broward High School to speak to, sign autographs for, and take photos with 140 campers. The Miami native spoke about the unglamorous but essential parts of basketball – the intangibles.  

He also said that visiting HEAT Camp rejuvenates him and makes him feel like a child again. 

“I like to do this. I don’t see it as work. I see it as relaxing,” he said. “I get to put away my professional image and just be a kid – even though I just turned 30.”  

UD Addresses Future 

Before speaking with the kids, Haslem, who will be a free agent July 1, addressed his future with reporters. He said that his hopes are to stay in Miami, but he understands the business aspect as well. 

“I never had to wear No. 40 for another team,” he said, “so I can’t imagine wearing it for someone other than the HEAT.  In a perfect world, it won’t have to come to that. But that’s the nature of the business.” 

Last Wednesday, the HEAT organization threw a surprise birthday party for Haslem on the front lawn of his Southwest Ranches home. Over 200 people, including family members, several teammates, front office personnel, and employees attended the celebration. The HEAT wanted Haslem to know that “We Want ‘U’ Back”.   He admitted that that show of affection has earned the team a few extra brownie points. 

“I’ll never forget it,” he said. “It will always stay near to my heart. It’s something they didn’t have to do, but they did to show appreciation to me. At the end of the day, that’s why you play this game. You play this game for moments like that, and you want to be appreciated.” 

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions 

Haslem admitted Tuesday that he has recently discussed cutting off his cornrows with HEAT Vice President of Player Programs Alonzo Mourning. He cited an unwritten rule that cautions men 30 and over from having the hairstyle  . Haslem, who has worn his hair in traditional cornrowed braids since entering the NBA in 2003, said his decision will be one of the toughest he's ever had to make. 

“Right behind where I’m going to play next season, this is next,” he said.