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Top HipHop Uproxx
Caleb Martin contributed 18 points off the bench for the Miami Heat in their dominant 128-102 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night, May 21. In the Heat’s 111-105 Game 2 victory, Martin torched the Celtics for 25 points, and he bucketed another 15 in the series’ opening matchup (another Heat win).
The eighth-seeded Heat are one win away from perhaps the most improbable NBA Finals appearance in history — certainly in recent memory — and we learned during TNT’s Game 2 broadcast that Martin was just one J. Cole call away from Miami last summer.
“We found out some interesting facts about Caleb Martin and how he got to this point,” TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce said during the second quarter, as captured by Bleacher Report. “We were talking to [Heat head coach] Erik Spoelstra before the game, and he said a week before camp started, J. Cole — yes, J. Cole, the rapper — called assistant coach Caron Butler and said, ‘My guy Caleb Martin is available.’”
LaForce continued, “Coach Butler passed on the information to Erik Spoelstra. He said, ‘Could he come? We’re scrimmaging tomorrow.’ [Martin] showed up, impressed everyone, became a two-way player, and ever since, was a huge part of the starting rotation until they had to decide to sign him full-time. It was a match made in heaven from day one.”
Martin went undrafted in the 2019 NBA draft, signing that summer as an undrafted free agent with the Charlotte Hornets. The Nevada product inked a multi-year pact with the team by that October (as relayed by the NBA at the time), but Martin was waived in August 2021.
Miami signed Martin to a two-way contract in September 2021 (as first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania), which blossomed into a three-year extension worth up to $20.4 million come last July.
Undrafted players Martin, Duncan Robinson, Gabriel Vincent, and Max Strus have contributed impressively to this magical Heat playoff run led by six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler.
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