Haslem is the Heat's All-Time leading rebounder - Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Udonis Haslem passed Alonzo Mourning and took the mantle for the most rebounds ever in a Miami Heat uniform. Hopefully this piece can do him justice.
Udonis Haslem is 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds. He was undrafted. With all due respect, he is a very limited offensive player.
But he did one thing very, very well: Rebound.
Ten years into his career, he's proven that much.
He passed Alonzo Mourning to become the Heat's All-Time leading rebounder in a win over the Bucks on Nov. 21. He's averaged just under eight boards a game in 606 career contests, all with Miami. He has a 15.7 career rebound percentage, which is an estimate of the available rebounds a player grabs while on the floor. He's made his mark on his franchise, and can even be proud of what he's accomplished historically outside of the Heat.
Haslem is 67th All-Time in Total Rebound Percentage. That number is ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Lanier, Chris Webber and Elvin Hayes, to name a few. A whole lot of players have come through professional basketball in the ABA and NBA. And Haslem is one of the very best rebounders to ever play, in that historical context.
The Heat like to call him a 'warrior' and many other synonyms, and that's cool, but the truth is he's just a really good rebounder who found a niche in an organization that really values such a skill. He's also a very good defensive player, with a specialty in taking charges, but after all, he is the man who once said "No rebounds, no rings."
It's not very often an undrafted player comes right into camp and earns a rotation spot, as he did in 2003, and by his second season, become a starting power forward on a contender. He's won a championship as a starter next to Shaquille O'Neal inside and on the bench as a role player behind Chris Bosh and others. He's reportedly taken less money to stay in a Heat uniform over the years, and as someone who was born and raised here, actually backed up the notion that money isn't everything.
There are a lot of things to romanticize over regarding Udonis Haslem. His teammates and coaches will rave about intangibles. He'll be remembered for some clutch jumpers, long braids, mean mugs, a technical foul when he threw his mouthpiece on the floor toward a referee, huge rebounds, charges taken and being the recipient of a lot of "Spoisms."
But the one tangible thing he can hold onto is having the most rebounds in Heat history. Ever.
Maybe Chris Bosh or LeBron James will eventually take it. Someone in the future will likely break the record. But Haslem has etched a place in Heat history that will be there for a long time.