Haslem attended the University of Florida, majoring in leisure service management. A starting center for four years, he was part of the Billy Donovan recruiting class that put Florida Gators basketball on the map, coming in with another NBA player, Mike Miller. Fans would yell the letter "U" in unison after his big plays. His sophomore season saw the team advance in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship game. The team made the NCAA tournament all four years he was with the team, the first time it had been accomplished at Florida.
He was signed by the Heat as an undrafted rookie in 2003. As a rookie, he backed up Brian Grant and provided rebounding and defense. He was named to the All-NBA rookie second team, and played in the rookie challenge during All-Star weekend. He assumed the starting power forward position in 2004 after teammate Brian Grant was part of a package that was shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that brought superstar center Shaquille O'Neal back to Florida. He was helpful yet again, being a tough rebounder and developing an effective 15 foot jump-shot. He has been called a perfect complement to O'Neal's style of play, and was critical in the Heat's playoff run to the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit. Following the season his two-year contract was renewed after upping his rookie averages of 7.3 points and 6.3 rebounds to 10.9 and 9.1 in his second season. In 2005-2006, he again was the starting power forward. Despite increased pressure from O'Neal battling injuries and the aquisition of 3-time All-Star Antoine Walker, Haslem retained the starting spot.
Haslem visited the Red Cross in Arcadia on the west coast of Florida in August 2004 to lift the spirits and assist those who suffered hardships due to Hurricane Charley and to thank the American Red Cross volunteers. Haslem likes to workout and play video games with his son in his spare time. He likes to read when he is alone.
On April 22, 2006, in a first-round playoff game against the Chicago Bulls, Haslem was ejected for throwing his mouthpiece at referee Joe Crawford. Haslem had been upset that a foul was not called on a play on the Bulls' end of the court. After the game, he claimed that he had not deliberately aimed at Crawford, and that the mouthpiece's trajectory was an accident. He apologized to fans and to his teammates, and stated that he would also apologize to Crawford when the opportunity arose. The NBA later announced that they are reviewing the incident, and they concluded that he would be suspended for game 2 of the series against the Bulls on April 24, 2006.
Haslem's nickname is "U.D.", the first two letters of his name, is the son of a stand-out Miami High-School Basketball Star, Johnnie Haslem. He has a seven-year old son Kedonis and has three sisters and two brothers (his late brother, Samuel Wooten, died of cancer in 1999). Despite attending Florida, he is a big fan of his hometown Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes, though he adamently roots for the Gators when they play the 'Canes, as evidenced by his uninhibited cheering during the Gators vs. Hurricanes matchup in 2005.
Haslem lists Bad Boys, and Scarface as his favorite movies. He enjoys rap music and his favorite artists are Jay-Z and the Hot Boys. His favorite food is seafood and lists Red Lobster as his favorite restaurant. He wears shoe size 18.
- NBA.com Profile - Udonis Haslem
- NBA Fantasy Basketball Stats - Udonis Haslem
- Basketball-Reference.com: Udonis Haslem