PHOENIX — Udonis Haslem went to the University of Florida, but he grew up in Miami first.
That’s why Haslem takes the Miami-Notre Dame rivalry seriously. Very seriously.
“It’s personal. It’s always going to be personal,” Haslem said. “Always. Chris Quinn is still carrying around that ‘Catholics vs. Convicts’ thing. That [stuff] gets up under my skin, too. He’s the only person who gets up under my skin.”
Quinn, a Heat assistant coach who attended Notre Dame, uses the “Catholics vs. Convicts” label to needle Haslem. That’s one of the many reasons Haslem is desperate for the Hurricanes (8-0, 6-0 ACC) to defeat the Fighting Irish (8-1) on Saturday.
“I completely disregard the ‘Catholics vs. the Convicts’ thing,” Haslem said. “Chris Quinn won’t let me forget about it, though. We need this one. Not quite as big, but [this game is] almost in the vicinity of Florida State. I need this one.”
Haslem and the Heat will be in Detroit on Saturday when the Hurricanes take on the Fighting Irish, with a matchup against the Pistons set for Sunday. But the Miami native is hoping to watch the big football game with his son Kedonis Haslem, who is a freshman on the University of Toledo football team — a school that is just about an hour away from Detroit.
And like many other Hurricanes fans, Haslem still feels like Miami is being disrespected despite its perfect record.
“I feel like people still don’t believe that the ‘U’ is back,” Haslem said. “It’s just another opportunity to go out there and prove them wrong. Keep that chip on your shoulder. … The Florida State fans were waiting in the bushes when they lose to blame it on their QB. They were giving me that before the game even started. Nobody wants to hear that. When the ‘U’ had like five scholarship players and y’all beat the hell out of us, y’all weren’t feeling bad for us. We were on probation and all that, and they were rubbing it in. So whatever.”
As for the turnover chain, Haslem loves it.
“It brings me back to those 2 Live Crew days with the gold ropes that Uncle Luke and 2 Live Crew used to wear,” Haslem said with a grin. “They just didn’t have the ‘U’ [on the chain], but they used to have the ‘U’ jackets. I actually got one of those jackets. I thought about wearing it after we beat Florida State, but I’m going to wear it if we beat Notre Dame. I’m going to wear it to practice.”
Haslem is pretty confident he’ll be able to wear that jacket, too. He’s predicting a 28-17 Hurricanes win.