Udonis Haslem has only played in one playoff game for the Miami Heat this season. He's yet to take the court during the last two rounds heading into the NBA Finals. And yet, he's making history before any of the games even begin.
The 42-year-old Heat veteran will officially become the oldest player in NBA history to ever make the Finals. He's sandwiched between a pair of Hall-of-Fame centers in Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Oldest players to make the NBA Finals
1. Robert Parish (43 years, 275 days)
2. UDONIS HASLEM (42 years, 347 days)
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (42 years, 51 days)
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) May 30, 2023
Not bad company at all. Robert Parish is best known as “The Chief” holding down the center spot for the Celtics for almost a decade and a half.
Parish won three championships with the Celtics with several trips to the NBA Finals donning Boston's white and green, but his final trip that got him on the list was actually with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1996-97 season. In an era with several dominant big men, it makes sense the Bulls wanted one more big bodied veteran.
Unlike Parish who didn't play a second in the 1997 NBA Finals, Kareem was still starting for the Lakers in 1989. However, he was far from his prime self as he averaged just 11.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game throughout LA's entire playoff run. He did manage to turn the clock back for one night in the Finals against the Pistons. He tallied 24 points and 13 rebounds in Game 3, which were both his playoff highs during that season.
Udonis Haslem will more likely emulate Robert Parish more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He'll probably only play in a blowout during garbage time. If the Heat somehow seal series in Game 6 with a big lead late though, expect the Miami crowd to clamor for him to take the court.