2016-17 season, Anthony Chiang, Udonis Haslem.
MIAMI — Udonis Haslem is proud to be from Miami.
The Miami native has proven that with his loyalty to the Miami Heat organization and even his tattoos. Haslem has the state of Florida mapped out in dark ink across his back.
As the 36-year-old Haslem has grown older, he’s also proven his love for Miami by giving back to the community. Haslem is getting involved in projects that are creating jobs for unemployed candidates from low-income families in South Florida.
Haslem’s latest venture is an Einstein Bros. Bagels at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The Heat forward, who grew up in Liberty City, was at the bagel and coffee shop Monday to celebrate Wednesday’s grand opening.
“You think the best way to help somebody is just to give them something,” Haslem said at the ceremony Monday. “But as time goes on, you realize that you’re really just crippling people and you’re really just taking away from their growth process. As I’ve gotten older and my career has grown, I look for opportunities to empower people around me and to put them in positions where they can grow.”
Haslem also helped open a Starbucks right around the corner from Einstein at Jackson Memorial Hospital earlier this year in a partnership called JFC Miami. He will add another Einstein and Starbucks in 2017 at the All Aboard Florida train station in Miami.
In addition, Haslem is the founder of the Udonis Haslem Children’s Foundation, which is meant to promote youth development and self confidence through programs and services designed to enable them to reach their full personal and educational potential.
It’s all just a part of giving back to the city that he loves.
“If you’re from Miami then we got to have a lot of pride,” Haslem said. “We’re at the bottom of the map. We often get overlooked. For us, we got so many different cultures and so many people who have been through so many struggles just to be able to get to Miami whatever their situation may have been. And if you were born and raised in Miami then you’ve been through the struggles of just being born and raised in Miami. I tell people all the time that South Beach is not considered Miami. So if you were born and raised in Miami then you understand the challenges out there for the youth and even the grown-ups and some of the people who’ve been through some things and need a second chance. You understand all those things if you’re from this city.”