This is hardly a shocker, but count Miami Heat captain and diehard Miami Hurricanes football supporter Udonis Haslem as a big fan of UM’s now infamous “turnover chain.”
“I love it,” the 15-year NBA veteran and Miami native said of the thick Cuban-link gold chain that players have been awarded and wearing on the Hurricanes sideline this season moments after recording an interception or fumble recovery.
“It brings me back to those 2 Live Crew days with the gold ropes that Uncle Luke and 2 Live Crew used to wear,” Haslem continued. “They just didn’t have The U [charm filled with orange and green sapphire stones] on it, but they used to have The U jackets.
“I actually got one of those jackets. I thought about wearing it after we beat Florida State [in October], but I’m going to wear it if we beat Notre Dame [on Saturday]. I’m going to wear it to practice.”
Haslem, who turned 37 in June, enjoyed giving teammate Okaro White, who played hoops at Florida State, an earful after UM beat FSU in Tallahassee earlier this season. But he’s ready to take his 305 swag and trash talk up a notch if the Hurricanes beat Notre Dame on Saturday night.
Heat assistant Chris Quinn played basketball for the Irish and has been agitating Haslem all season. The back-and-forth has continued heading into Saturday night’s colossal showdown.
“It’s personal. It’s always going to be personal. Always,” Haslem said of the UM-Notre Dame rivalry. “Chris Quinn is still carrying around that Catholic vs. Convicts thing. That [expletive] gets up under my skin, too. He’s the only person who gets up under my skin.
“He won’t let me forget it. I completely disregard the Catholics vs. the Convicts thing. Quinn won’t let me forget about it, though. We need this one — not quite [the same as FSU], but it’s almost in the vicinity of Florida State. I need this one.”
Haslem said a win over Notre Dame would do a lot to end “the disrespect” he says the Canes have received nationally all season.
“I feel like people still don’t believe that The U is back,” Haslem said. “It’s just another opportunity to go out there and prove them wrong. Keep that chip on your shoulder.”
The Heat, who play in Phoenix on Wednesday night and are in the midst of a six-game road trip, will be in Detroit enjoying a Saturday night when UM and Notre Dame kick off at 8.
Haslem said he had already made plans to go see his son Kedonis, a freshman offensive lineman at Toledo who is being redshirted this season, during the game. Toledo is about an hour’s drive away from Detroit and it’s a rare opportunity to see him. But, Haslem said, he’ll be keeping an eye on the game as best he can.
“I’m sure I’ll grab dinner with him, so I don’t know if I’ll be able see the game. Or, maybe we’ll watch it together,” Haslem said. “It just all depends on what his schedule is.”
Toledo is 8-1. The Rockets’ only loss was at UM. Haslem was there cheering on his son, and rooting for The U deep down inside.
Haslem, by the way, offered a prediction for Saturday’s Canes game. It’s hardly surprising.
“28-17 Miami,” he said. “We’re going to take that W.”
▪ Haslem has yet to play this season for the Heat — in the preseason or regular season.
How has he handled riding the pine?
“Of course, I want to play,” he said. “I keep myself in great shape, so if my opportunity comes I’ll be ready. I can still play. Trust me, I have enough pride and enough sense about myself that if I couldn’t get it done, I’ll walk away gladly.
“So I just stay ready and continue to help this team and be the best I can in this role. And if I get the opportunity to play then I’m going to do my job.”