Udonis Haslem fires back at Paul Pierce’s Heat jersey retirement diss

The rivalry between Haslem and Pierce continues well into retirement.

Former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce and Miami Heat star Udonis Haslem in front of the Kaseya Center.

It was a celebratory night for the Miami Heat organization last Friday as they retired the number and jersey of long-time captain Udonis Haslem up to the rafters of the Kaseya Center to be immortalized for eternity. However, former rival and Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce believes it was not earned.

It all started when former basketball player Stephen Jackson posted to Instagam about the jersey retirement saying “Felt like all the Real Ones got they jersey retired. Being solid still in style. Earned not Given. Salute my boy. #Mr305 @ud40 Big Congrats. For all the real ones who will never see this day be proud a real got his just due.”


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Pierce would reply by signaling out Jackson's line “earned not given” and said “This one given bro just saying.” This fuels the fire to the already built-up rivalry between Pierce and Haslem that has been going on since the early 2010s when the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics would compete in some of the most physical battles in the playoffs.

Interestingly, Haslem has since responded to Pierce's comment, saying: “My first reaction was to choose violence but I'm gon spare cause I know you ain’t like that. You're entitled to your opinion my boy!!!!”

For what it's worth, just recently, Haslem was on his podcast “The OGs” with Mike Miller and said that he doesn't like Pierce or his teammate in Kevin Garnett. He would specifically say about the two that ““If I see yall in the grocery store its on, it can be aisle 7/11 around the cheese dip, all of its getting flipped over.”

Haslem's impact with Heat goes well beyond statistics

Former Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem in front of the Kaseya Center.

Pierce is not the only one to question the decision to retire Haslem's jersey as looking solely at career statistics, he averages 7.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. However, his impact on and off the court in the city of Miami has been monumental besides his underdog story being un-drafted and from the city of the 305.

Although, Haslem has the most rebounds in Heat history with rebounds and ranks among the team in all-time leaders in games played (second), minutes (second), and field goals made (fifth). The University of Florida-alum joins Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, and Tim Hardaway as former Heat players to have their jerseys retired.

Bam Adebayo was “sick” Heat didn't win on the special night

The amount of people he has impacted is insurmountable, with one of them being star big-man Bam Adebayo who has had a close relationship with Haslem since he stepped foot into the league. After the Heat lost to the Atlanta Hawks last Friday, Adebayo said to ClutchPoints that he was “sick” that they fell in front of his mentor.

“I'm sick we lost this game. Just because he embodies winning. He's one of those people, truth be told, during the day when they told him when it was, he called me right away and said only thing that are gonna make me happy is we get to win,” Adebayo said.

“And you know, you take stuff like that to heart and you come up with this type of game and you lose on a special night like this, especially for a guy that's un-drafted, three championships with the same organization for 20 years. He's an anomaly. He's one of those people who they don't come around often because it's not a lot of opportunity in this league for guys like that. For him to have this moment I'm blessed to be a part of blessed that he's my OG but I'm really down we lost this game on this night.”

Jimmy Butler says Haslem should be an inspiration to everybody

Jimmy Butler as well spoke highly of Haslem who said to ClutchPoints that he is “happy for him.” Also, the 34-year old would express that the captain's story “should be an inspiration to so many.”

“I'm happy for him, everything he's done for this organization, for this city, for the game of basketball. He should be an inspiration to so many,” Butler said. “Just because people always count you out or view you lesser and you can be great if you embrace your role and be a star in that role. I think he's taught everybody something different, something special, which it is only right that number never be worn again here.”

Erik Spoelstra has “mixed emotions” about jersey retirement

Someone else that had “mixed emotions” about the jersey retirement was from Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, but not for the same reasons as Pierce. When going to dinner with Haslem and other legends of the franchise, they talked about how fast time flies where one day you're competing for a championship and then the next, you are retiring a jersey.

“Really mixed emotions about it. We had a great dinner last night, it was really just cool seeing a bunch of Heat lifers show up for that…to celebrate UD's impact on our entire organization, on our hearts, and all of 305 down here,” Spoelstra said. “One common thing that UD said is just how fast it goes, then all of a sudden, you have a night like this. Now, not everybody can have a night like this and that just speaks to UD's greatness as a culture steward and the relationship that is created here in this organization, it's remarkable. You look at the names that are up there and UD's name is going to be up there tonight, it's surreal.”

Haslem's run with Miami was historic

While there will always be doubters on Haslem and his time with the Heat, that seems to be what has fueled him for his whole career as he has won three championships and been to seven NBA Finals, the most recent marking the oldest a player has been when playing in the championship series at 42 years and 363 days. He is one of three players in NBA history to be with a franchise for at least 20 years, joining Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers and Dirk Nowitzki with the Dallas Mavericks.

The Heat are now 24-18 which puts them seventh in the Eastern Conference as they have dropped two straight games to losing teams as their next test is against the Magic on the road Sunday.