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Udonis Haslem Sets All-Time Miami Heat Rebounding Record

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 07:  Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat reacts in the first half against the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 7, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Dan FavaleFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2016

Move over Alonzo Mourning.

On Wednesday night, the suddenly seldom used Udonis Haslem—the longest tenured member of the Miami Heat along with Dwyane Wade—ensured that his name would go down in his team's record books.

With his second rebound of the night against the Milwaukee Bucks, the power forward (per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel) surpassed Mourning as Miami's all-time leading rebounder:

Reserve power forward Udonis Haslem became the Miami Heat's career rebounding leader with his second rebound of Wednesday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks at AmericanAirlines Arena.

 Haslem entered with 4,806 rebounds in his 10 seasons with the franchise, one behind Alonzo Mourning's 4,807. Mourning, now a Heat executive, was among those in attendance for the moment.

This was something Haslem needed. Not just because it ensures he'll go down in franchise history, but because it served as a reminder of how much he has actually meant to this team.

As the 32-year-old Haslem navigates his 10th year of service—all of which have been spent in South Beach—it has become increasingly clear the Big Three era has not been kind to him. Sure, he obtained a second championship ring, but did so in the midst of the least productive season of his career.

And the onset of this one hasn't been much better.

To date, Haslem is averaging just 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per game, all career lows. He's also posting a career worst 9.02 PER as well.

It's not as if this has been a sudden decline in production. Haslem's stats suffered immediately upon LeBron James and Chris Bosh's arrival. The number of looks he received went down, his field goal percentage plummeted and subsequently so did his playing time.

But regardless of whether or not Haslem is able to revive his career—one that has seemingly become a victim of circumstance—he'll always have this.

He'll always remember that he was a dominant force on the glass for a team that once needed him. He'll always have the luxury of knowing he crashed the glass harder than anyone else in franchise history, including 'Zo.

He'll always have the memory of this moment, a symbol for all that he has done and how much the Heat once needed.

And you know what? It's also how much a sign of how much the Heat still need him.

There's no denying things have certainly changed in Miami, Haslem included. The Heat are no longer built on the gritty play of athletes like Haslem or even Mourning himself. Instead, they're built on star power, on the freakishly athletic stylings of James, Wade and Ray Allen.

But while such a shift in structure has relegated Haslem to a sparingly-used reserve role, the rebounding hoarder in him has never left.

He may be averaging a career low in rebounds, but that's a direct result of his lack of playing time. Look closer, and you'll see those 5.1 rebounds come in barely 17 minutes a contest. Travel even deeper and you'll see he's grabbing 10.5 boards per 36 minutes, the third highest total of his entire career.

Now consider this: Miami grabs just 39.67 rebounds a night, the 28th-lowest total in the league. Where would this team be without Haslem?

Nowhere near as prominent as they currently are.

I won't sit here and tell you the Heat cannot win a championship without Haslem, but they would be even more inferior on the glass than they already are. Even in a limited role, Haslem is the team's third-leading rebounder.

And now he's the greatest one of all time, in what will soon not even be a close contest.

Bear in mind that the forward is still building upon this record. He has two more years left on his contract after this one. Barring a trade, serious injury or sudden retirement, Mourning's record won't have just been surpassed, it will have been shattered.

So yeah, things have changed, and in more ways than one, they have changed at the expense of Haslem.

Yet one thing has remained constant: The Heat still need him.

All it now takes is one glance at Miami's record books to see that.

 

All stats in this article are accurate as of November 22, 2012.

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