Former Florida Gators power forward Udonis Haslem, a 10-year NBA veteran who has spent his entire career with the Miami Heat, set the franchise’s career rebounding record on Wednesday, surpassing Alonzo Mourning and becoming the first undrafted free agent in league history to hold a team’s career mark in rebounds.
Haslem, who had 4,806 boards entering the game, broke the record with 2:37 left in the first quarter when he brought down his second rebound of the contest, surpassing Mourning’s 4,807.
After spending four years at Florida playing under head coach Billy Donovan, Haslem went undrafted in the 2002 NBA Draft over concerns about his size and ability. Though he got a chance to compete with Atlanta in the preseason, Haslem was eventually cut and ballooned to 300 lbs. while playing professionally in France.
He lost more than 50 lbs. during his time in France and was signed by Miami as an undrafted free agent in 2003.
Haslem wound up starting his first career NBA game and wound up being named to the All-Rookie Second Team in his first season. He nearly left the Heat in 2010 after the team signed a bevy of talented free agents and did not have the money to match contract offers laid out to him by Dallas and Denver. In the end, he decided to accept $14 million less over five years to re-sign with Miami and continue playing in his hometown alongside one of his best friends in Dwyane Wade.
Now a two-time NBA champion, Haslem was able to celebrate his second title alongside former Gators teammate Mike Miller. He will remain with the team through his player-option year of 2014-15.