Hassan Whiteside, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson never played a full season together, much less won a championship. Expectations for the neophytes to vanquish battle-tested NBA teams are a pipe dream without the strong leadership of Udonis Haslem and, if available, Chris Bosh to guide them.
A youthful Haslem has gone through the growing pains of inexperience, with its triumphs and tragedies, leading to a career with three rings for the Miami Heat. These highlights show Udonis back in the days when he was like today's youth movement.
Haslem's Heat team always had a sixth man on the court, and his name was Brotherhood. To paraphrase the video trailer below, "The Miami Heat do not play a game, but share a dream."
Heat players, overcoming tough emotional times have a common bond, basketball, to carry them through the rough patches of the season and make their teammates an important support system for them.
Dion Waiters had to deal with growing up in violent Philadelphia neighborhoods and the loss of his younger brother this year and family tragedy (For My Brother).
"In 2006, his older cousin, Antose Brown, was shot to death. A year later, another cousin, Isiah Brown, and his best friend, Rhamik Thomas, were fatally shot in separate incidents less than three months apart. A third cousin, Carl Brown, died in a motorcycle accident in 2009."
With Waiters choosing Miami for a chance to get better and grow as a player with the organization instead of the bigger paycheck, the Heat will now have his back.
The tragic death of Wayne Ellington's dad (Playing For Pops) lead him to become a tireless advocate against violence and receive the 2015-16 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Critics malign Waiters, Ellington, Haslem for their basketball abilities, but they don't see the difficulties that made each one a stronger person. Despite their different backgrounds, all the Heat players share one common bond that unites them: basketball. That will be their sixth man on court this season.