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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
Nickname: U.D.
Position: Forward
Hometown: Miami, FL
From: Florida
Height: 6’8”
Weight: 235
Years Pro: 5

Foreign Policy
“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 wouldn’t 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 don’t 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, that’s when I started to work on my shot and began stretching the floor. It’s a testament to Coach Erik Spoelstra and Keith Askins. They helped me tirelessly to improve my jumper.”

David vs. Goliath
“I’m 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. It’s tough, but it’s the only way I know how to play.”

Captain Haslem
“I’m one of three captains, along with Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion. Nothing was given to me easily – I’ve worked for everything I’ve gotten. I’ve 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 I’m a part of the team, it’s more important than ever to maintain the pride and tradition of wearing a HEAT jersey.”