What makes Udonis Haslem’s loyalty to the Miami Heat so special? It’s rare

MIAMI — “There’s no place like home,” Udonis Haslem posted Friday on Twitter. This came just one day after he re-signed with the Heat.

Miami isn’t just Haslem’s hometown, he’s made it his basketball home. The 37-year-old forward is now under contract to return to the Heat for a 15th season.

That type of loyalty in the NBA is rare, as Haslem is the longest tenured Heat player in franchise history. His 14-straight seasons with the Heat is also the fourth-longest streak by any active player with one team in the NBA — behind only Dirk Nowitzki (19 seasons with the Mavericks), Tony Parker (16 seasons with the Spurs) and Manu Ginobili (15 seasons with the Spurs).

The Miami Heat’s, from left, Willie Reed, Goran Dragic and Udonis Haslem celebrate 110-102 win against the Washington Wizards at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

On top of all that, Haslem is on track to become just the 11th NBA player to spend their entire career of 15 seasons or more with only one franchise. Kobe Byrant (20 seasons with the Lakers), Nowitzki (19 seasons with the Mavericks), John Stockton (19 seasons with the Jazz), Tim Duncan (19 seasons with the Spurs), Reggie Miller (18 seasons with the Pacers), John Havlicek (16 seasons with the Celtics), Parker (16 seasons with the Spurs), Dolph Schayes (15 seasons with the Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers), Hal Greer (15 seasons with the Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers), and Ginóbili (15 seasons with the Spurs) are the other 10 players on the list.

And when Haslem returns for a 15th season, only Dan Marino (spent 17 seasons as the Dolphins’ quarterback) will have spent more time wearing the uniform of one of South Florida’s four major professional teams. Haslem is about to catch up to Bob Kuechenberg, who was a standout guard for 15 seasons with the Dolphins.

Staying with one team for an entire career doesn’t happen often these days. The fact that Haslem is on his way to becoming one of the few players who falls into this category has helped to make him a fan favorite.

“I appreciate all the love that I get,” Haslem said in April. “I never take that for granted. It has been an amazing ride. An amazing 14 years. So, I can appreciate [the fans]. I got a lot of love for these people. They got a lot of love for me. I’m a hometown guy. So I always appreciate that.”

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