"Success is to be measured not so much by the position
one has reached in life but by the obstacles which he
has overcome while trying to succeed."
- Booker T Washington
Udonis Johneal Haslem was born on June 9, 1980 at the Miami Shores Hospital in Miami, Florida. At birth Udonis weighed 8lbs, 7 ounces. He grew up in the Miami and Carol City area where he attended Brentwood Elementary from kindergarten through 4th grade. Udonis was a Cub Scout at Brentwood Elementary for 2 years. He also played Optimist Football at Scott Park in the Carol City area.
At age nine, the family relocated to Jacksonville. Udonis attended Beauclearc Elementary in 5th and 6 th grades. Udonis also became involved in the PopWarner football program. He played defensive tackle for 2 years, because of his size, weight and strength, he always played on the team with the older boys. At DuPont Middle School, Udonis started to come into own in the classroom and in sports. He made the Varsity Basketball team and started at the center position. There he was given the nickname “Udominator” because of his size and strength. Udonis aplayed AAU Basketball for the Duval Bulls. At Wolfson High Udonis played football and basketball in 9th and 10th grades. He was the starting defensive end and the tight end on the football team and the starting Center on the varsity Basketball team.
A helmet to the knee in a game in his 10th grade year ,ended his football playing days. He had torn ligaments to the knee and was in rehab for over 6 weeks. Udonis continued to play Varsity Basketball and AAU Basketball for the Bulls and the Jewish Community Center. In his 10th grade year, the Duval Bulls won the AAU championship. During the same time frame, Udonis along with 11 players from different schools in Jacksonville were selected to go France to play the Junior National Team. They won the championship and and Udonis was selected to the "All Tournament Team". They were a perfect 7 - 0 during their run to the championship game in France.
After 7 years in Jacksonville, the family relocated back to South Florida, where Udonis completed his high school education at Miami Senior High. As a Miami High Stinger Ray, he won 2 state championships and was named 6A player of the year in the 6A Division. During high school, Udonis received numerous scholarships, but chose to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville. At the University of Florida, he was the starting center for four years. Udonis was selected as ”All SEC” for four years, and was the winniest player in University of Florida history . He is ranked in the top 10 in many of the statistical categories.
In his sophomore year the Gators made it to the NCAA championship but lost to Michigan State. In that game, Udonis had 27 points and 12 rebounds. He was also selected to the "All SEC " ACC Tournament team. Udonis needs to complete one class and his internship to get his degree in Sports Management.
Undrafted in 2003 , Udonis received an offer to play in France for Chalan Sur Soane. He was one of the best players in the European League where he averaged double figures in points and rebounds. Udonis hated the food in France. He stayed up all night and slept all day, To him, France was a pit stop. During his 10 months in France, he started working out. He lost 25 lbs and dropped from 260 pounds to 235 pounds . He was determined to show the “nay sayers” he belonged in the NBA.
In the latter part of his time in France, Ud was given the opportunity to play in the summer for the Miami heat and the San Antonio Spurs . He played well for both teams and was eventually invited back to the Miami Heat's training camp. He made the starting line up and never looked back!
"Success is not measured by what a man
accomplishes, but by the opposition he has
encountered and the courage with which he
has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."
- Charles Linberg