On Friday night, the Miami Heat paid tribute to one of the legends in the franchise's history, hanging the number 40 jersey of Udonis Haslem on the Kaseya Center rafters, never to be worn by any Heat player ever again. Haslem, in his 20 years in the NBA, embodied what it means to be a Heat player, being a hard-nosed interior presence whose voice commands respect in the locker room.

In addition to hanging his jersey on the rafters, the Heat franchise made Haslem's special night even more memorable with an additional gesture of appreciation. The organization dedicated two seats for Haslem's late parents, Johnnie and Debra, and another one for his stepmother, Barbara Wooten, immortalizing the 43-year old's legacy in Miami even further.

What a gift this is from the Heat franchise towards Udonis Haslem. After all, Haslem wore the number 40 because his father did way back in his playing days for Stetson back in the 1970s. Moreover, the Heat legend said that he patterned his game after his father's, which meant that Johnnie Haslem did not back down from any challenge on the hardwood given Udonis' unflinching toughness.

Haslem's father died in 2021, 12 years after Debra Haslem passed away. Just to show how much the Heat franchise cared for Udonis' well-being, many members of the organization, despite the veteran's assertions for them not to come so as to not interrupt their preparations for the season ahead, went to the wake and grieved with him during the time.

Meanwhile, Udonis Haslem even more recently lost Barbara Wooten, his stepmother whom he considered as his “guardian angel”. Wooten passed away in late December last year due to cancer, and in the aftermath of her passing, Haslem wanted to maintain her legacy by engaging in various charity work. Now, the Heat's decision to immortalize Wooten goes a long way towards etching her legacy in stone.

One's upbringing goes a long way towards molding an individual into who they currently are, and as it stands, Haslem is a Heat great thanks in large part to the way his guardians took care of him. Udonis' jersey retirement isn't just his accomplishment, but theirs as well, making this gesture all the more heartwarming from the franchise.