The NBA is a star-driven league and commissioner Adam Silver wouldn't have it any other way. It makes sense that the game's best and most impressive performers get the most attention and money.
But role-players are also an extremely important, and often underappreciated, part of the roster and they provide everything that the top stars need to win.
For guys like Udonis Haslem, they may not be doing a whole lot on the floor anymore, but his value comes from his experience and leadership, which NBA point guard legend Chris Paul lauded during a chat with some young ballers in Los Angeles.
"It ain't but two people left in the league from my draft class. Me and Lou Will, we the only two people left in our draft class and that's not easy -- my way or Lou Will way. You done had injuries, there's a draft every year. It's youngins like y'all that are coming up every year and the first thing they wanna do is move out the old guy. Y'all saw all that stuff with Udonis Haslem. Y'all heard everybody talking crazy about him? I'm probably his biggest fan. You wanna know why? Because young guys need vets. You need somebody like UD to show up every day. If practice at 11, he probably show up at the gym at 8:30 every day. To motivate guys, to push guys."
As a 19-year NBA veteran, Udonis Haslem has seen it all and knows more than most what it takes to win. With career averages of 7.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 0.8 assists per game, UD was never a stat-sheet stuffer, but he did all the little things right that made him so valuable on the court.
He means so much to the franchise that they are planning to retire his number forever when he retires.
Heat announce re-signing of Udonis Haslem. Pat Riley, "From the first day that I saw him compete, to the last day when we retire his jersey at our FTX home, UD will go down in our team’s history as one of the best to ever play for the Miami Heat."
For some fans, it can be hard to see the payoff of spending a roster spot on a guy like Haslem, who will not average more than a couple of minutes played this season.
Still, he must bring something to the Heat, or they wouldn't keep bringing him back year after year.