// KING OF THE (FOOD) COURT
HEAT STAR UDONIS HASLEM PLANS FOR LIFE AFTER BASKETBALL BY TAKING HIS LEADERSHIP SKILLS FROM THE COURT TO THE BUSINESS WORLD.
Heat star Udonis Haslem plans for life after basketball by taking his leadership skills from the court to the business world.
As the heart and soul of the Miami Heat, Udonis Haslem won three championships and became the team’s all-time rebound leader. Across 14 seasons (Haslem recently re-signed for a 15th year) and nearly a lifetime as a local, U.D. became the face of the city where today he’s a franchise investor in five Subways and two Auntie Anne’s. Through South Florida-based food and beverage operator JFC Miami, where Haslem is a partner, he’s also a licensed operator of an Einstein Bros. Bagels and a Starbucks at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Haslem told us about his business ventures, his postretirement plans, and remaining a perennial Heat player.
How did you get started with JFC?
My business partner, Ramona Hall, and I both lost out on bids for spots at Jackson, but she noticed I was very ambitious, and I noticed she had a lot of experience in licensing and in operating food and beverage concepts. We created a friendship that became a partnership and were able to bid when another spot opened up. You’re opening spots along the Brightline that will connect Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm
Beach, and Orlando. Will the train change the city?
It’s huge. With the growth of downtown Miami, a lot of people will be taking it. You can live up north and work in Miami, or vice versa. There’s a lot of Heat fans in Orlando, so you might get some [traveling] down to catch a game and get back to Orlando at a decent hour.
Part of your goal was giving people jobs, right?
I have a lot of family and friends who just need an opportunity. They probably made mistakes in the past, and it’s not easy to come by a job. They have the right heart and mind-set, and I want to give them the opportunity to reach their goals.
How much of this is an investment versus an after-basketball job?
I can’t do anything halfheartedly, so I wanted it to be something I could be involved with when I retire. I stop by my stores once a week. We’ll land at three or four in the morning from a West Coast trip, and I’ll stop by my 24-hour Starbucks. I’m making sure everything is going well and checking on my crew.
Who has influenced your business career?
One would be my business partner; she’s very inspirational. I’d also have to say Dwyane Wade, a very close friend of mine. I’ve always admired him for being willing to do something different. And my business manager, Sylvester King, is probably the most intelligent person I know. He pushes me to want to continue to educate myself.
Do you see yourself in basketball in any way after retirement?
My hope is to be somewhat involved on an organizational level with the Heat. I’ll continue with my business ventures. And I have three kids. My oldest son is a football player; he’s a freshman at the University of Toledo on a scholarship. Elijah, 6, is athletic and very active, and my 10-year-old plays travel baseball. A lot of things will take priority once I walk away from playing basketball.
“I CAN’T DO ANYTHING HALFHEARTEDLY.” —UDONIS HASLEM
The Miami Heat’s all-time rebound leader, Udonis Haslem has won three championships in his 14 seasons with the team (here during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Americanairlines Arena in February).
Haslem on-site during the construction of his 24-hour Starbucks franchise at Jackson Memorial Hospital (ƚƛƨưƞ last year. “I have a lot of family and friends who just need an opportunity, and I want to give them the opportunity to reach their goals,” he says.
Team JFC Miami: Haslem with managing partner Ramona Hall.