Franchise cornerstone Udonis Haslem joins the Heat’s front office as vice president of basketball development. The Heat announced the hiring along with a statement from team president Pat Riley.
“Born and raised in Miami, UD has been an integral part of the Heat’s success for 20 years,” Riley said in the statement. “It’s great that he has chosen to continue to build on his incredible legacy here in Miami, where he belongs.”
Haslem, 43, played 20 seasons in the NBA, all of them with the Heat. He is the franchise’s all-time leading rebounder and a 16-time team captain.
His tenure spanned multiple team eras from the Shaquille O’Neal-Dwyane Wade championship in 2006, to the LeBron James-Chris Bosh-Wade era that produced two more championships, to the contemporary Jimmy Butler-led era Era in which the Heat repeatedly exceeded expectations, including two trips to the NBA Finals.
Haslem officially retired last offseason. But it had been years since he had had a significant direct impact as a player. Haslem played a total of 102 regular season games over his final eight seasons. In his last four games he made 25 appearances.
The Heat didn’t keep him on the roster toward the end of his career because of his playing ability. He was a de facto coach and mentor in uniform who embodied Heat culture and helped instill the top-down team philosophy that began at Riley.
Now that he has officially retired, he will continue to work in the front office.