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Udonis Haslem Says Heat's Big 3 Wouldn't Have Won Any NBA Titles Without Him

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 27, 2021

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Longtime Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem believes he played a significant role in the team's back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013.

In an interview with Tyler R. Tynes of GQ, Haslem discussed the "Big Three" era of the Heat with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Regarding how the Heat went to four consecutive NBA Finals and won two titles, Haslem said:

"I don't care what nobody say, I had my moments and we don't win none of those rings without me. I did my job and that's all you can do: Stay ready so you don't have to get ready. I had some critical moments where I had to step in and hold down the fort. Thank God [Wade] stood up and said, 'We need this motherf--ker.' Because sometimes people get caught up in dollar signs and what makes 'cents' doesn’t always make sense."

The 41-year-old Haslem has spent his entire NBA career in Miami and is in his 19th season.

While Haslem averaged a solid 10.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game during a five-season stretch from 2004-05 through 2008-09, his presence became less about stats when James and Bosh joined Wade in Miami in 2010.

During the four seasons of the Big Three (2010-11 to 2013-14), Haslem's averages were just 4.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest. He appeared in 198 regular-season games, started 87 and averaged 20.2 minutes.

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He also played in 72 playoff games with 4.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

The numbers don't jump off the page compared to what LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh contributed, but Haslem was an important glue guy and leader who helped bridge the gap from the pre-Big Three days to the arrival of James and Bosh.

Haslem noted that James, Wade and Bosh recognized his value and took less money so the Heat could keep him:

"You can surround guys who drive the bus, who sit on the bus, but if you ain't got somebody who can change the tires and the oil, your bus ain't moving. You need a guy like me: who will do the dirty work, take that charge, do the things that won't show up on the stat sheet but it equals winning. [Wade] understood that, LeBron understood that, [Bosh] understood that. If they didn't, it's no way those guys take less money and cut off a piece of their pie for me to stay. They didn't know me. They didn't have to do that. But they understood what I brought to the table and I was able to deliver."

Haslem is a three-time NBA champion. He was also part of the Heat team that won it all in 2006 as Wade led the way.

Miami has not won a championship since the Big Three broke up, but it did reach the Finals two seasons ago, and Haslem was part of that team as well.

Haslem only sees the floor occasionally nowadays and is more like an extra coach than a player. He appeared in 45 games combined over the previous five seasons and hasn't played this year.

Still, he has a great deal of value because of his attention to detail and championship experience, as was the case during the Big Three days as well.

Haslem told Tynes he is still playing because he continues to chase championship rings for himself and his teammates, saying he wants to help get one for players like Jimmy Butler, just as he did for James, Wade and Bosh.

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