Depending on whether or not the NBA resumes the 2019/20 season, it could represent the end of the line for longtime Heat veteran Udonis Haslem. The 39-year-old has served as a team leader in recent years, appearing in just 43 games over the last four seasons.
Since 2003, Haslem has been a mainstay in South Beach, helping Miami win several championships while also working with young Heat players on the rise. It could all be over, but Haslem has not weighed the possibility of retirement just yet.
“Yeah, I mean, everybody, obviously, it comes to mind,” Haslem said during a conference call on Friday, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. “For me, I’m still maintaining hope that we can salvage some of the basketball season. So I haven’t gotten to that point yet. And in the midst of all this, there is a lot going on.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the entire world in a standstill, including that of professional sports. Haslem recently published a strong Players’ Tribune writeup urging people to take the coronavirus spread seriously by practicing social distancing.
“I’m seeing people starting to make the move, and starting to impact,” he said. “I’m sure it wasn’t just my letter. I’m sure a lot people had ideas in mind about what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it. I’m just seeing everybody coming together.”
It’s been clear that Haslem is valued as a veteran leader for a young Heat team that – before the season’s suspension – was among the best in the Eastern Conference. As the league remains hopeful to resume the campaign, Haslem admitted that thinking about the game is challenging.
“Right now, there are bigger things going on than basketball,” Haslem said. “So it’s really kind of hard to focus on basketball.”