LOS ANGELES — With a game of his own Sunday afternoon, Udonis Haslem won’t get a chance to watch his hometown Dolphins play in their first NFL playoff game since 2008.
But he’ll know the result of the Dolphins’ first-round playoff game against the Steelers as soon as he looks at his phone following the Heat’s matchup against the Clippers. The Heat’s game in Los Angeles is scheduled to tip off at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday with the Dolphins’ game scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m. that same day.
“I’ll know [who won] as soon as I check my phone because I’ve got my cousin who’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan,” Haslem said Friday. “So by the time the game is over and I look at my phone, I’ll know — depending on how his message is — the answer.”
Although Haslem is rooting for the Dolphins, he has a few personal ties to the Steelers. The Miami native said he’s “good friends” with Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who attended Miami-Norland High, and has “developed a friendship” with Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell after working out with him.
“I’m very excited,” Haslem said of the Dolphins making the playoffs. “It sucks that we have to go against Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh. I’m a huge fan of Antonio Brown and good friends with him so I’m kind of torn. But my loyalty is going to always roll with the Dolphins.”
When asked for his prediction, Haslem didn’t hesitate.
“What do you mean what do I think is going to happen? What kind of question is that?” Haslem said. “Is that a trick question? I think the Dolphins are going to win, man. In a perfect world, I hope Antonio Brown has a great game because I’ve developed a friendship with him but the Dolphins still win, and Le’Veon Bell because I work out with him. But if both those guys have a good game, it’s probably not a good thing for the Dolphins. I just hope the Dolphins pull it out some kind of way.”
And if Haslem doesn’t see a text message from his cousin — a Steelers fan — after Sunday’s game, that’s good news for the Dolphins. And for Haslem.
“That would mean it’s time for me to message him,” Haslem said with a smile.