NBA

WATCH: Udonis Haslem is gifted a rocking chair as he drops season-high points in his farewell regular season game for the Heat

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Orlando Magic v Miami Heat

The moment for Udonis Haslem to retire from professional basketball courts is almost here, as this weekend he played his last regular season performance of his career. The Miami veteran was crucial for his team in their latest victory 123-110 over the Orlando Magic, outscoring all the players present in his farewell exhibition. 

The 20-year career player for the Heat reached a season-high 24 points in last night’s contest, also adding three rebounds to his tally during the 25 minutes he was on the floor. Believe it or not, Haslem hadn’t scored this amount of points since 2009.

After the game, Udonis was gifted a rocking chair as a joke by his teammate Bam Adebayo as the whole arena burst into nostalgic laughter. Check out this moment as his whole family was present at the Kaseya Center:

His coach Erik Spoelstra already feels he is going to miss the 42-year-old in Miami’s locker room. “I’m going to miss his spirit,” he said. “I’m going to miss his voice. I’m going to miss his intentions. He has incredible, pure, team intentions. Every single day. He doesn’t have a bad day. He may express himself with anger other times at his teammates or even with me, but his intentions are pure.”

“He doesn’t have bad days, there’s not a moodiness, he doesn’t come in with any kind of baggage,” he insisted. “It’s pure. It’s always about winning. How can he help somebody else? How can he help the team? How can he help mentor? That’s what keeps his mind going constantly.”

Before Sunday’s match, the Heat presented a tribute video for their team captain that included special messages from coach Spoelstra and President Pat Riley. Haslem stood on court next to his wife and gave a brief speech to the audience present.

“Whether I was starting, whether I was the first guy off the bench or whether I didn’t play at all, you guys always had my back and showed love,” the 42-year-old said. “For me, that’s priceless. That’s beautiful. And that’s why it made it all so easy, just to sacrifice everything.”

Coach Spoelstra needs to start thinking how to manage the locker room without their team captain

Spoelstra recognized before the match that he’s already trying to anticipate how to manage his roster after Haslem retires. “Unfortunately, I have started to think about it the last couple weeks,” he said. “And I haven’t wanted to and I’m usually disciplined and focused on the task at hand, but of course you’re going to feel a certain way about it, and have different emotions about it.

“It’s somebody that I care so deeply about, as a competitor, but even more as a person. And our relationship has really just grown in so many different ways over the years.”

Even though Haslem hasn’t been a starter for the Heat for many years now, last night he proved that he can still be as impactful as ever.

“I think the average person would be shocked how much he’s thinking about other people in the locker room or the coaching staff,” Spoelstra said. “It’s a beautiful trait to have as a human being. And that’s why he’s going to be celebrated and have a big-time salute for an amazing career.

“And a guy who’s touched so many people and inspired so many of us in this organization and in this ZIP code to make things better.”