“I definitely want to be, long time down the road when my career ends, whenever somebody mentions a top-five center or top-five power forward, they always got to mention my name,” Adebayo said during a Friday press conference, via ESPN's Nick Friedell. “That's how I want to be remembered. Keep changing basketball.”
The versatile big had a breakout season in 2019-20, emerging as Miami's second best player. He averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while providing elite defense and guard-level playmaking.
He finished second in the voting for the league's Most Improved Player of the Year award in 2019-20, behind New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram.
“I feel like I'm trying to change basketball; being a center, being able to play both sides of the ball and being able to pass as well as I can, that's a difference-maker on a team, especially at the center spot, so it's respect at all levels.”
Adebayo was the Heat's best player in the Eastern Conference Finals, putting up 21.8 points, 11 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and one block per game in six contests against the Boston Celtics in the bubble. Unfortunately, he was hampered by injuries in the NBA Finals, which Miami dropped to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Adebayo recently signed a five-year, $200 million supermax extension, and he clearly intends to live up to that salary. His motor has been well-documented, which makes him an ideal fit alongside Jimmy Butler within Pat Riley's celebrated #HeatCulture.
“He's the Zo [Alonzo Mourning],” Riley told ESPN's Zach Lowe about Adebayo. “He's the UD [Udonis Haslem]. He's the Dwyane [Wade]. They were standard-bearers. Bam is that person. He is the real deal.”
“I'm lucky they like guys with edge,” Adebayo told Lowe about the Miami brass.
Adebayo's ambition and skill set has earned him an apt moniker inside the Heat organization.
“My nickname in the organization is ‘No Ceiling,'” the former Kentucky Wildcat said on Friday. “So that gives you a point of where I want my game to be. I want to have no ceiling and be the best player that I can be and win this city a championship.”
Adebayo will open his fourth NBA season against the Orlando Magic on Dec. 23.