MIAMI -- In the wake of Heat president Pat Riley keeping the door open for a return by veteran power forward Udonis Haslem, and in response to pointed social-media comments from others about Riley's comments, Haslem offered an Instagram post Monday challenging those who might challenge his eventual decision.
"I've never been the one to listen to outside noise. Key word is listen. Doesn't mean I don't hear," Haslem posted. "See the thing most average-minded people don't get is if I let your expectations of me define me then I wouldn't be here today. Problem is majority of this world is average ASF!!
"Nobody ever expected (anything) from a young fat kid from Liberty City. Hell why would they? But I'm thankful they didn't."
He went on to note his enterprises away from the court, as did Riley in his comments last week about Haslem's decision.
"I guess I shouldn't own Subways, and Einstein, and Auntie Ann's, and Starbucks, and 800 Degrees Woodfire kitchens either huh?" Haslem posted. "What I've grown to realize in my life is that my obsession with success, my drive to overcome obstacles, and my overall work ethics is way higher than most. And I'm OK with that."
Haslem then referenced his age and his ongoing commitment to conditioning that has defined his 16-season tenure with the Heat, one that began after going undrafted out of the University of Florida and playing a season in France.
"It makes sense why most think I should retire at 39. Cause most would," he said, with friend and former teammate Dwyane Wade retiring at 37 this past season. "Cause most are average minded. Most don't look like this at 39! Hell they ain't look like this at 19. Lol.
"So y'all keep worrying about the last spot on the roster while I sit back and stay ready so I don't gotta get ready. I'm not saying I'm playing next year but if u with me then u will support whatever I do!! Not tell me what to do!!"
He then referenced words of inspiration from his mother, followed by a closing message that included sharp words, "You out your ... mind if you think I can't still play this game. I'll sleepwalk into a double-double cause I'm just built different!!
"Y'all should know that by now but keep hating. I need y'all!! A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and if I'm the weak link that's a hell of a ... chain!!"
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