A three-time NBA Champion. An NBA Finals MVP. A 12-time NBA All-Star. He is Dwayne Wade. And he’s back for “one last dance.” On Sep. 16, the 16th-year vet announced via his Youtube channel that he will be playing his final season in the NBA for the Miami Heat.
“I feel like it’s right to ask you guys to join me for one last dance, for one last season,” Wade said in the video. “This is it. I’ve given this game everything that I have, and I’m happy about that. I’m going to give it for one last season, everything else I have left.”
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) September 17, 2018
This is a privilege that very few athletes have had. To end a star career right where it began and manifested into greatness is an immense gift for both the athlete and fans of the sport. After Sunday’s announcement, Wade will be on a full-fledged farewell tour like the greats Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter in years past whether he wishes for it or not.
After a stellar career at Marquette University, Wade was drafted in 2003 by the Heat where he played his first thirteen seasons. From 2004 to 2011 he was one of the most prolific players in the NBA, averaging upwards of 24 PPG in each of those seasons. With Shaquille O’Neal as his partner-in-crime, he helped lead the Heat to a championship in 2006. Then, with Lebron James and Chris Bosh, the “Big 3” went to four straight NBA finals, winning championships in 2012 and 2013.
In 2016, he signed with the Chicago Bulls and then left to Cleveland in 2017 to rejoin James with the Cavaliers. But right before the 2018 trade deadline, the Cavs decided to have a massive roster reform which included Wade being traded back to the Heat.
Wade, also referred to as “Flash,” has been best known for his athleticism, quickness, defense and ability to finish at the rim throughout his career. The 36-year-old is expected to be the starting shooting guard for the Heat this year. And despite his decrease in productivity and efficiency, Wade is once again the face of the franchise and heart of the city.
Being an NBA player is obviously an extreme time commitment and has caused Wade to sacrifice a lot in pursuit of his dreams, including time with his family. After devoting his entire life to the sport, Wade feels like it is about time to start giving back to those who helped him get to where he is now.
“It comes [to] a point in time where we all have got to think about someone else,” Wade said in the video, “especially the ones around you who have supported you, your dreams, your journey like my family has.”
So for the man who will go down as the best player in Miami Heat history, let the farewell tour begin.
“Let’s enjoy it. Let’s have some joy through this last season.”
— ESPN (@espn) September 17, 2018