Miami Heat: Tough times made Udonis Haslem & why he was made for tough times

Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat during the national anthem before the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat during the national anthem before the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat has long been known for being a tough-minded, scrappy, determined ballplayer. That’s not by chance.

The Miami Heat are known for their scrappy, tough-minded, and strong brand of basketball. It has been something that’s characterized the organization since the very beginning.

While the players have changed, switched, and shuffled, the mentality has always remained the same. While some players had to pull that side out of themselves in order to become Miami Heat ready and them best selves as players, others simply embodied that demeanor and found themselves in the perfect environment.

Any player that has ever played for the Miami Heat has found that in themselves, if they remained in Miami. However, when you look at guys like Brian Grant, Alonzo Mourning, or Jimmy Butler, they were just seemingly born to be Miami Heat basketball players.

Another guy that was seemingly made in that very same mold is none other than the Captain, the OG himself, Udonis HaslemUD has not only come to personify the meaning of Miami Heat Culture, but he has become the ultimate good guy as far as giving back, caring, and taking care of his community goes.

This didn’t just happen by chance though. The man that we have gotten used to seeing come through in tough times, was made from just that, tough times. Take for example this quote from his piece in The Player’s Tribune near the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I’ll tell you a true story. Any time I see a bowl of raisins? Mannnnnnnn. Listen. To this very day, if I see raisins, it’s like I get triggered. I mean it — if I saw a bowl of them on the table right now, I might go apeshit. I might damn near flip the table over. Can’t see ’em, bro. Can’t smell ’em. Makes me sick.It’s because when I was growing up, we had too many nights where the only thing we had for dinner were those little red boxes of raisins. Nothing else, no lie. That was the main motherf***ing course. Man … you know that smell I’m talking about? The smell of that California Raisin–ass cardboard? You’d be sitting there thinking, “Alright, it’s only about 15 hours till I get to school tomorrow so I can get some fish sticks.”"

How much more real can it get than that? How much more tough does it get than that, from a literal perspective and from the perspective of coming from that to become the man that Udonis Haslem has become?

Udonis Haslem is a real-life tough guy, but not just for show. He is just tough because that’s all he knows how to be.

No matter what your answer is or what you think of it, it’s tough and if you didn’t know, let me be the first to tell you. As mentioned and when you take into account his success, it was not for naught though. The tough times that made the man we know as UD, certainly explains why he was made for these tough times.

Whether you look at his reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, be that his speaking out on the city of Miami’s spring breakers, the fact that he does things like help give back, deliver food to first responders, or his recent speaking out on the unrest and systematic oppression in America, he was made to be the man he is, with the power, and the voice that he has.

He can say it a bit better than anyone else can for him. Here he is doing that in these two separate quotes from Ira Winderman’s piece in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

"“I’ve always felt that I had a higher calling than basketball, especially being back in this city,” he told the Sun Sentinel of this extended period in South Florida amid the NBA shutdown. “I always felt it was something bigger to grasp for, something to accomplish. Now with everything going on, I guess it’s just more.”"

Then here again. UD tells how and what he plans to do.

"“I’m being more aggressive being out in the community and making sure I’m doing things, because it calls for more aggressive times,” he said. “Being a voice for people in this city that are struggling, and they don’t really have a voice, I felt compelled and I want to. It’s who I am, to be a voice for those people.”"

No matter which way you look at it, you have to admire the guy. He has not only been an important part of a specific era of greatness for Miami Heat basketball, but he continues to be a pillar and leader of his community.

If you can’t admire that, then what can you admire? Either way, he won’t mind, because tough times made Udonis Haslem and he was made for tough times. So, for one more person to not appreciate his story as much as they should appreciate it would be a piece of cake.