Udonis Haslem remembers the Miami Heat’s embarrassing championship hangover following their title in 2006. According to UD, this year’s team won’t experience the same thing. Per the Miami Herald: “On June 21, while AmericanAirlines Arena was awash in championship jubilation, teammates seeking out loved ones to share the moment, Haslem instead was seeking out Miami Heat President Pat Riley. ‘I swear, after the game, I was talking to Pat about next year already,’ Haslem said. ‘We were just brainstorming and thinking of ways of coming back better and doing what we need to do.’ Such a discussion not only goes to the essence of Haslem, but also to where he found himself after he previously won a championship with the Heat. Following the team’s 2006 title, Haslem and the Heat did not win another playoff game for two seasons and did not win another playoff series for four. The difference is that 2006 championship team hardly was built for the long run, instantly growing somewhat drunk on what many viewed as unexpected success. This Heat roster, the one that regroups at AmericanAirlines Arena next Saturday for the start of training camp, practically has a mandate to follow up with something at least as impressive, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh brought together for more than a championship cameo. ‘I think it’s not necessarily about being a different group. It’s about the right mindset,’ Haslem said. ‘I don’t think with the ’06 team we really understood what mindset we had to come in with as returning champions.’ He paused and offered an almost sinister smile, as if sending advance warning. ‘I think now we understand what our mindset has to be,’ he said, ‘because the level of expectation has been raised a notch, and we understand that.'”
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