Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

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Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem announced Sunday afternoon that he will be returning for his 20th and final season with the franchise. Haslem made the announcement at his youth basketball camp in Miami.  

When Haslem, 42, takes the court with the Heat in the fall, he will join Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki as the only two players in league history to spend 20 or more seasons with the same franchise. Haslem, who was un-drafted out of the University of Florida in 2002, is a three-time champion with the Heat and is Miami’s all-time leader in rebounds.

“I have decided to follow through with what me and my father have talked about, and I will finish what I started and I will play 20 years,” Haslem said. “I will play this year because I talked about that with my father.”

Haslem’s father passed away at the start of last season, and when Haslem returned, he said it was”probably the toughest time I’ve ever had to encounter.” Though his father won’t be with him for this season, Haslem said his father wanted him to play 20 seasons in the league, and he intends to do so.

Though Haslem has spent the last seven years as more of a player-coach for the Heat, in his early days he was an essential piece in Miami winning three titles. Now, though, while he doesn’t see the playing time he used to, he’s been key in helping develop the Heat’s younger players, like Bam Adebayo.

A Miami native, Haslem has become a pillar in his city’s community, and will now finish out his career with the only team he’s ever played for. 

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