Miami Heat: Udonis Haslem has been this franchise’s Dennis Rodman

Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat directs a teammate (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat directs a teammate (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat are known for their gritty determined demeanor, which exudes from their players. One of them, Udonis Haslem, is the walking personification.

The Miami Heat are going to punch you in the mouth. That’s it, that’s the sentence.

In the most sportsmanship filled, competitive, “I want to win more than you do”, figurative manner, they are literally going to continue to dish out blow after blow until either the final bell rings or it makes no sense to swing anymore. That’s just how they are put together.

That edge has been instilled in this team from its very inception. Whether it be Brian Grant, Alonzo Mourning, John Salley, or even a Kurt Thomas, the Miami Heat have always kept a guy that wasn’t afraid to mix it up.

In the year of 2003, they would then sign one of the next great Miami Heat guys of that ilk. Udonis Haslem joined his hometown professional basketball club that year. The Miami Heat may have not known at the time, but the new face of their edge had just been brought into the franchise.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last two weeks, longer than that even when including the anticipation and marketing leading up to the event, you should know that ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary focused on the life and career of Michael Jordan has been all the rage over this time.

This past Sunday’s pair of episodes dove more into the character that is The Worm, Dennis Rodman. While Dennis Rodman was a very eccentric, electric, and enigmatic guy and basketball player in his NBA heyday, he was a menace between the lines on the court.

Averaging 11.2 rebounds or more every year from his fifth season until the last of his 14-year career in the NBA, Rodman averaged 9.7, 12.5, 18.7, 18.3, 17.3, 16.8, 14.9, 16.1, 15, 11.2, 14.3 rebounds respectively from the years of 1989 to 2000. He led the league in the category for seven straight of those years, between 1991-98.

While his rebounding and defense were factors in themselves, he also brought another intangible to all of his teams based on what we already knew and what the documentary continues to prove. He brought a certain edge and demeanor to all of his teams.

It was real, it was tangible, it was omnipresent. With Dennis Rodman in your corner or on your team, you felt like you couldn’t be manhandled, bullied, or outworked for that matter. UD has brought that same quality to the Miami Heat franchise across all of his years.

With Udonis Haslem on the court for you, you never feel as though you are behind or on the wrong side of the ledger in the physicality department. With him on your bench or in your locker room, you always feel as though you have a voice of reason, wisdom, and a direct extension of leadership present in those areas.

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While Udonis Haslem didn’t quite have the on-court impact statistically that Dennis Rodman did, Rodman didn’t have the total intangible tool kit that UD has. They both were and are immensely valuable to their organizations though, all of them that Rodman played with and the Heat for Haslem. The edge that they brought, mainly though, is the reason why I say that Udonis Haslem has been the Miami Heat’s Dennis Rodman