Dwyane Wade is wrapping up an illustrious 16-year career in the NBA, 15 which were spent with the Miami Heat. He is among the most respected players in the league and has many memorable moments that Heat fans will remember for the rest of their lives.
A three-time champion with the Heat, Wade, somehow, has gone underappreciated. Underappreciated differs from underrated because it isn’t about his talent that people and even some players seem to overlook. It’s his legacy and how he turned around an abysmal Heat squad in the early 2000’s. Since the NBA’s expansion to Miami in 1988, Wade has stood as the team’s franchise. He is the team’s all-time leader in points, steals, assists. He embodies the Miami Heat and helped bring one of America’s largest cities near the top of the ranks of most valuable teams in the league (currently No. 10). His four years with close friends LeBron James and Chris Bosh brought the city two more rings.
He competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics for Team USA but that only led to a bronze medal, a failure in the eyes of the world’s best basketball country. He, along with James, Bosh and other close friends Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, came back in 2008 and dominated the rest of the world and cruised to a gold medal, USA’s first since 2000.
Off the court, Wade founded The Wade World’s Foundation in his rookie year in 2003. The foundation provides support to at-risk communities that promote education, health and social skills. Wade understands his platform as a global celebrity holds weight and knows that many kids look up to him. He was inspired to start the charity because he is more than just a sport. He said, “I can’t just let basketball define who I am and what I am supposed to become. Like my mother always tells me, ‘my life is bigger than basketball.’” He mainly serves Chicago, his hometown, and South Florida where he has played most of his professional career and nearly spent half of his life. He hosts a free youth basketball camp in Chicago each year where attendance is normally more than 500 kids. He also launched a reading program to aid students growing up in low-income communities. Wade just wants to give the youth a chance to do more, to grow above their community.
Dwyane Wade, you have provided me, basketball fans and sports fans all over the world with great highlights and memories. From winning the Heat’s first NBA title in 2006 with Shaq to achieving back-to-back titles as a part of the Big Three to acrobatic shot after acrobatic shot that defied the laws of basketball, you will be missed. Ride off into the sunset with your family having loved the game and realize that it loved you back.
THANK YOU DWYANE WADE