Say this for Udonis Haslem, he made his minutes count.
The Miami Heat legend and NBA's oldest active player made his first appearance all season on Thursday, entering a game against the Philadelphia 76ers that was already chippy through some exchanges between Joel Embiid and Trevor Ariza.
What ensued can best be described as a play in three acts.
The first was the triumphant entrance of a beloved player whose Heat career dates all the way back to 2003. Haslem, now 40 years old, is basically an extra coach for the Heat at this point, but the Miami fans — and team president Pat Riley — were thrilled to see him walk onto the floor:
The rising action of Act 2 was Haslem actually holding his own on the court, making his only two field goal attempts for four points and one rebound.
The climactic final act saw Haslem's appearance ascend to legendary status, as the veteran got ejected from the game through a contentious run-in with Dwight Howard. Haslem had been in the game for three minutes.
The good news is that Riley clearly approved of what he was watching. The kerfuffle also made history, as ESPN Stats & Info reported that Haslem is the oldest player to get ejected from a game in 20 years.
The Heat ultimately won 106-94, improving to 39-31 and holding onto the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
'I finished it the only way Udonis Haslem could'
As fun as the sequence was, Haslem's ejection could end up being the final appearance of Haslem's career, or at least his final appearance on the Heat's home court, as the team's two remaining regular season games are on the road.
After games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons, Miami is currently on track to face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Slipping even one game behind the New York Knicks would mean getting the Bucks instead, but a Haslem cameo may not be too out of the question.
If that's really it for Haslem, he seemed to have at least accepted he went out on his terms after the game:
Haslem re-signed with the Heat on a $2.6 million deal last offseason for an 18th NBA season, all with the Heat. The expectation was that he would provide guidance and mentorship to players, but head coach Erik Spoelstra apparently decided that he could still have his uses on the court.
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