Udonis Haslem juggling several roles in 'retirement' after 20 years with Miami Heat | D'Angelo

Udonis Haslem had to excuse himself midway through the conversation.

"I'm going through security," he said. "Call you back in five minutes."

If you thought playing 20 seasons for the Miami Heat, winning three NBA titles, going to the Finals seven times, and being the organization's all-time leader in rebounds not to mention the face of its culture was a hectic life …

Well, that's nothing.

Haslem's life is a whirlwind. He moved into the Heat's front office as the vice-president of basketball development after retiring as a player following the 2023 playoffs. He took on a gig as an analyst for TNT that now has spilled over to NBA TV and ESPN programs like Get Up and First Take. And he continues to excel as a businessman. Haslem owns a total of seven Subway, Einstein, Auntie Anne's and Starbucks franchises and is involved in several affordable housing projects.

Some "retirement."

"I'm ambitious, I spread my wings," Haslem said Thursday after clearing security and waiting to board a plane from New York to Miami.

"I've evolved and grown. I was in the same spot for 20 years and there are so many things I want to try. Some of the things that I've been planning and strategizing, being calculated about when I retire, and what I want to jump into."

Add guest speaker to the list. Haslem will take the stage at the Palm Beach Post's High School Sports Awards show Wednesday, June 5 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

More: Udonis Haslem guest speaker at Palm Beach County High School Sports Awards

Haslem, who turns 44 June 9, thought about life after his playing career for many years. He was a de facto player coach his last eight years under for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, which prepared him for his current role with the organization. He and Dwyane Wade, one of Haslem's closest friends, plotted a career in television for years.

Haslem's role in the Heat front office has helped with the transition after two decades playing in the NBA. So much so that when the Miami native and former University of Florida star was asked if he missed not being in uniform, he could not answer fast enough.

"No, I didn't miss it," he said. "I gave the game everything. I really gave it everything I had. I didn't save anything. I didn't hold anything back. I left it on the court and in the locker room.

"So I was able to walk away with no regrets. I put it all out there so there was nothing to miss. And I still get a chance to be in the locker room, to be in practice, go to shootaround. And I'm still connected to the guys. I talk to the guys almost every day."

As for the TV gig, Haslem is engaging and comfortable in front of the camera, and obviously well tuned into the league. And when it comes to this time of year, few know more about what it takes to be successful in the playoffs.

"Constructive criticism," is how he describes his style.

"I'm not here to embarrass anybody," he said. "I'm not here to show anybody up. Any time I speak of anything someone did wrong, it's more from a teacher standpoint. I don't just say what they did wrong, I also say what they could have done right. I always try to stay on that side of it, the teaching side."

And Haslem has a lot to teach. He is the consummate professional who transformed his body and game through hard work, dedication and passion, while ignoring the critics and low expectations.

He is one of 10 players in league history to play at least 20 season, and the only one among them who was undrafted. And he joins Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki as the only players in NBA history to play at least 20 years for the same organization.

And for those who only remember Haslem's later years, or judge him by his stats, he was a starter on the Heat's 2006 championship team led by Wade and Shaquille O'Neal; and rotation player and third leading rebounder on the 2012 and 2013 title teams led by Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Oh, and he was a team captain for the final 16 years of his career.

Haslem's Heat career: 'He was the glue'

It would be difficult to find a more impactful player NBA history to average fewer than eight points (7.5) and seven rebounds (6.6) than Haslem.

"He was the glue," Heat center Bam Adebayo said the night Haslem's number 40 was retired by the Heat. "A lot of people get lost in the stats, who averages the most, but he was the glue for everybody. And I feel like the glue guys are the most important guys on a team."

That night in January, when Haslem watched his number raised to join those of Wade, O'Neal, Bosh, Tim Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning, he thought mostly about his family.

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While Haslem's wife, Faith, and their three sons were able to celebrate the moment, his parents were not. Haslem's mom, Debra, died in 2010. His dad, Johnnie, died in 2021.

"They sacrificed so much for me to play these games," he said about his family. "Twenty seasons is a long time. They took care of home. They made sure there was balance (in his life) and made sure I could be my best version mentally, physically and emotionally and not have to worry about anything."

Now, Haslem has time for all of that in retirement.

Or does he?

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Udonis Haslem does not miss playing days after 20 years with Miami Heat