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Ex-Florida Gator Udonis Haslem to those in his native Miami: ‘Keep you’re a-- home.’

The longtime and normally reserved Miami Heat player speaks his mind loud and clear, especially when it comes to his hometown, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem looks on during the first half of an NBA game on Nov. 5, 2019, in Denver. [DAVID ZALUBOWSKI | AP]

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MIAMI — Udonis Haslem has an overarching message for the general public right now: “Keep you’re a-- home.”

The Miami Heat star, Miami native and former Florida Gator standout saw the spring breakers mocking the coronavirus pandemic while in his city. He didn’t like it. Not one bit.

And on Wednesday, in a piece posted on The Players’ Tribune website, Haslem spoke his mind.

His opening five paragraphs set the tone.

“You see that video going around of these silly a-- college kids down in South Florida on spring break? Talking about, ‘If I get corona, I get corona, bro,’ and all that nonsense?

“Man, I’ll tell you one thing for sure.

“Those kids have never been hungry a day in their life.

“They never had to worry about nothing more serious than a pop quiz. But they’re still coming down here — coming to our state — in the middle of a pandemic, acting like nothing’s going on??

“I’m not usually the kind of guy who does this sort of thing. … I don’t write a lot of articles. But if you (expletive) with my city, I’m going to speak on it.”

Haslem, 39 and in his 17th season with his hometown Heat, then proceeds to provide a reality check, a glimpse into the real Miami, the side of Miami he grew up in before making it in the NBA.

“It’s funny — these kids fly down to places like South Beach for a couple days to party, and they think that’s Miami,” Haslem wrote. “But they’ve never seen the real Miami. They’ve never been to Liberty City. They’ve never seen the side of this city that’s living check to check. The side of this city that’s surviving meal to meal.

“And let me just tell you something, man — there’s a Liberty City in every city. It’s regular people, with regular struggles. And I don’t know how I can get everyone to listen, but I say this from the bottom of my heart: The people growing up in the real Miami? They’re as vulnerable during this crisis as anybody.”

As of the Florida Department of Health’s 11 a.m. update on Wednesday, there are 1,682 confirmed cases in Florida of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Miami-Dade and Broward County have the most cases in the state.

“This ain’t about me. It ain’t about you. This thing is about us,” Haslem said. “This virus is going to affect everybody, especially the most vulnerable.”

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