PROFILE: Udonis Haslem
From being undersized, overweight, and undrafted out of college, it seemed like HEAT forward Udonis Haslem was destined for a short pro career. But after getting cut from the Atlanta Hawks pre-season roster following a successful four years at Florida, Haslem went overseas and completely reinvented himself. The sixth-year pro talks about his rise from going undrafted to being one of the longest tenured HEAT players.
Name: Udonis Johneal Haslem
Hometown: Miami, FL
Years Pro: 5
After getting cut from the Hawks, I played a season in France. There, I took time to work on my body and game a total retransformation. Playing in Europe saved my career. I wouldnt change anything about it.
South Beach Diet
Instead of pointing fingers at teams for not drafting me, I took a close look at myself. While in France, I started getting myself in great physical condition. I lost over 60 pounds. I changed my eating habits. I stop eating pork. I rarely eat red meat. I dont eat a lot of sweets I eat a lot of chicken, seafood, and pasta. The HEAT saw my dedication and took a chance on me.
A Brand New Game
All my life, I was a post player. Once I signed with the HEAT, thats when I started to work on my shot and began stretching the floor. Its a testament to Coach Erik Spoelstra and Keith Askins. They helped me tirelessly to improve my jumper.
David vs. Goliath
Im not as big as most of the guys I defend. My job is even tougher now that I play a lot of center. But I have two things on my side quickness and strength. I also outwork my guy. Its tough, but its the only way I know how to play.
Im one of three captains, along with Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion. Nothing was given to me easily Ive worked for everything Ive gotten. Ive come here and worked from day one, and I just try to instill that into my teammates.
Born and Raised in the County of Dade
Being a hometown guy, I want to honor the heritage of the HEAT. I grew up watching Glen Rice, Grant Long, Rony Seikaly, and Alonzo Mourning. Now that Im a part of the team, its more important than ever to maintain the pride and tradition of wearing a HEAT jersey.