The city of Miami has a lot to be happy about this afternoon, it’s the second time in six years there will be a “Parade down Biscayne Boulevard”. The contributions of two of our native sons are what make us Miamians set an extra sense of pride in our 2012 NBA Champions.
James Jones was born and raised in Miami, FL. He attended American Senior High in Miami where he was named the 1999 Class 6A Player of the Year in Florida. James also won the Miami Herald’s Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year Award. He was an all-county and all-state selection and the hometown boy went on to play at the University of Miami. While at the University of Miami, he averaged 11.1 points and 5.0 rebounds throughout his four years there. During his senior year, he averaged 16.9 points while leading the Hurricanes. Jones was selected in the upcoming NBA draft where he was selected 49th by the Indiana Pacers in 2003. On July 9, 2008 James Jones accepted a 5-year contract to sign with the Miami Heat. The contract guaranteed the first two years to make $8.3 million and could be up to $23.2 million over the lifetime of the contract.
As a Miami High Stingaree, Udonis Haslem 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 winningest player in University of Florida history . He is ranked in the top 10 in many of the statistical categories. In 2003, Haslem was signed by the Miami Heat as undrafted free agent after dropping nearly 30lbs and playing in Europe to prove his will to succeed in basketball.
In the 2010 offseason the Miami Heat began to restructure and release contracts to compliment the signings of the “Big Three” and all other pieces were to be carefully financed around them, our native sons James Jones and Udonis Haslem were no exceptions.
Both men became free agents and received luxurious offers. Udonis Haslem, reportedly was offered three contracts. Both the Nuggets and the Mavericks offered Haslem 10 million dollars more than the Miami Heat.
James Jones on the other hand quickly re-signed with the Heat for the veteran minimum $1.3 million, a nearly $7 million dollar drop from his first two season with the Heat and leaving a $6 million dollar offer in San Antonio.
Haslem then followed James Jones lead and left $10 million on the table to be part of his hometown team.
Both men credited the team slogan, “sacrifice” as the reason they decided to be part of what could be something special in our city.
I think it is safe to say that both of our Miami children have been part of something special.