Despite the fact that Udonis Haslem has firmly established himself as a Miami Heat icon, there are still some folks who continue to question his role for the squad as he historically enters his 20th season with the franchise. Phoenix Suns point god Chris Paul is well aware of the slander, and he’s come out with a clear statement as to why he believes Haslem remains to be one of the most important players on the roster.

Haslem barely gets on the court these days. He’s been a bench player for Miami for the past several years. However, despite his lack of playing time, Haslem remains an integral member of the squad. Chris Paul explains why (h/t Brad Sullivan of Heat Nation):

“You all heard everybody talking crazy about him?” Paul said. “‘Why he on the team? Why he on the team?’ Man, I’m probably his biggest fan. You wanna know why? Because young guys need vets. You need somebody like UD showing up every day at practice at 11 and he probably in the gym 8, 8:30 every day. To motivate guys, to push guys.”

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He’s not wrong here. Udonis Haslem is one of the most respected players in the entire league, and it goes without saying that he’s a very prominent voice inside the Heat locker room. When he speaks, his teammates listen — especially the younger players on the squad.

Chris Paul can also be considered in the same category as Haslem in terms of being a well-respected vet. The 12-time All-Star plays a similarly valuable role for the Suns, but unlike Haslem, CP3 is still a dominant force on the basketball court at 37 years old.