"I can't imagine anything I wouldn't do for Dwyane," Haslem told the Miami Herald's Dan Le Batard in reference to his retaliation hit on Indiana Pacer Tyler Hansbrough after Hansbrough leveled Dwyane Wade earlier in Game 5.
Were you really that surprised?
And aren't you actually a bit pleased Haslem was candid on the incident?
Haslem's hit, while malicious, was what NBA playoff basketball should be allowed to be. Too often we see players in this league go out of their way to remain friendly and chummy with the opponent, putting off-court relationships on just as high a pedestal as playing all-out to win an NBA Championship. Haslem's hit on Hansbrough showed how he's willing to play the role of a bad guy if it's what his team needs.
It also may have initiated a shift in how we (as fans and the national media) perceive the Miami Heat.
"It is all fun and games to beat up the Heat in the media, to say the Heat are soft," added Haslem to Le Batard. "Rabbit hunting is fun. But it ain't funny when the rabbit has the gun."
At least now we can end the specualtion on this story and put it to rest.
Haslem intended to inflict pain on Hansbrough. It cost him a playoff game, but no doubt earned him a bit more respect in the Heat locker room, and sent a message to the Boston Celtics and possible NBA Finals opponent that this flashy South Beach team may actually have an enforcer ready to protect his team's stars.