A group of over 200 HEAT employees, front office personnel, and family members surprised Udonis Haslem with a birthday party on the front lawn of his Southwest Ranches home. The party was held this afternoon and served two purposes: to wish Haslem, who turns 30 today, a happy birthday and to show him that the HEAT as well the South Florida community appreciate his on- and off-the-court contributions during his NBA career. Simply put, the HEAT wants him to know â€œWe Want â€˜U’ Back.â€
Haslem will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Everyone in attendance wore a black T-shirt with the image of Haslem and a â€œWe Want U Backâ€ customized logo.
Haslem has spent his entire high school, college, and seven-year NBA career in the state of Florida. A Miami native, he attended Miami Senior High and helped the Stingarees win two 6A state championships. In April 2009, Haslem was inducted into Miami High’s inaugural Hall of Fame class. He went on to play collegiately at the University of Florida and left as the all-time winningest player in UF basketball history (97 wins). Haslem is the first player in school history to play on four straight NCAA Tournament teams, including guiding the Gators to the 2000 NCAA Championship Game against Michigan State.
Haslem went undrafted out of Florida in 2002 and played the 2002-03 season with Chalon Sur-Saone in France. He was signed by the HEAT as a free agent on Aug. 6, 2003 and earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team Honors that same season.
Haslem has averaged 10.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 30.9 minutes while shooting 49.9 percent from the floor and 76.3 percent from the foul line during this seven-year career with the HEAT. The three-time captain finished the 2009-10 season ranked among the HEAT’s all-time leaders in games played (2nd-517), defensive rebounds (3rd-2,951), total rebounds (3rd-4,177), double-doubles (3rd-121), field goal percentage (4th-.499), offensive rebounds (4th-1,226), minutes played (4th-15,986), and starts (5th-386). He was also a starter and key contributor to the HEAT 2006 NBA championship run.
In 2005, Haslem started the Udonis Haslem Foundation to help local kids in need. For the past five years, the Udonis Haslem Foundation has hosted holiday toy drives, turkey giveaways, and school supply donations, serving children and families from South Florida. The mission of his foundation is to promote youth development and self confidence through programs and services designed to enable them to reach their full personal and educational potential.