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Udonis Haslem, Candace Parker Honored With SI's Hometown Hero Award

Heat forward Udonis Haslem and WNBA champion Candace Parker are honored with SI's Hometown Hero Award.

Heat forward Udonis Haslem and Sky forward Candace Parker received the Hometown Hero award during The Sports Illustrated Awards.

The honor celebrates athletes who have given everything they have to their teammates on the court while serving their community off of it. 

Haslem hails from Miami, and chased the dream of one day playing for the Heat despite going undrafted coming out of the University of Florida. He dedicated the award to his parents, mentioning that he lost his mother 12 years ago. He said, "They're the reason why I stand here today." 

However, "the man who you see here today, I have to thank my stepmother, Barbara Wooten. She embodies what this award is about. And when you talk about community and being a hero in a community and giving back and thinking bigger and better than just yourself. She embodies that and she's the reason why I stand before you here today the man that I am today.

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"To everybody else, man, I think as a kid, you know, I was always taught you don't have to brag about who you are," Haslem said. "If you're good at something other people would do it for you. And the people have spoken so I appreciate y'all." 

Parker, who could not attend the award ceremony in-person, sent a video message to receive the award, shouting out her home of Chicago. This year marked her first with the Sky after spending the last 13 with the Los Angeles Sparks; however, she did grow up in the nearby city of Naperville. 

Chicago's WNBA championship marked the first title for the city since 2016 (Cubs) and the first basketball championship since Michael Jordan and the Bulls last won an NBA title in 1998. 

"There's no greater honor than standing up here to represent my hometown, Chicago," Parker said. "It's not only my hometown in the home to the Sky, but it's where I've met the greatest people on and off the court. Thank you so much for everything you've done for my career, Chicagoland. It's been such an honor to play for you to represent you."

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