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MIAMI (CBSMiaim) – In the coming months, Dwyane Wade’s name and No. 3 will be put on a banner, and sway from the rafters of American Airlines Arena.
The Miami Heat may give him a statue.
He might get a stretch of beautiful Biscayne Boulevard named for him.
And remember, back in 2010 they re-named the county for Wade.
The whole Miami-Wade County thing was supposed to last for just one week, but it’s still Wade County. Ask anybody.
All those honors will be nice, when and if they happen. There will be a celebration for each one.
Everyone will get together and talk about the good old days. Talk about what Dwyane Wade did in his 16-year career, how he rewrote the Heat record books like no one ever has and probably ever will.
The thing is, it’s all unnecessary. No one is going to forget Dwyane Wade.
The game winner in Game 1 of the playoffs in 2004 over Baron Davis, Wade’s first playoff game. Who does that? Dwyane Wade does that. And if anyone thought what happened that night was a fluke, the next 15 years proved them wrong.
Everything Wade did was a moment. Good or bad, great or terrible, championship or heartbreak, South Florida fans lived and died with everything the man did.
He wasn’t born here, but he belongs to Miami now. If you peel back the layers of Dwyane Wade, you probably find yourself in there somewhere.
He grew up in poverty.
His home was a broken one.
Most colleges didn’t want him.
His grades weren’t good enough.
His father wasn’t always there. His mother did time in jail. Forget counting on people, there were times he couldn’t count on his next meal.
If you grow up that way, in Robbins, Illinois, you’re not supposed to have a statue, or a banner, or a legacy, or really anything.
He didn’t know what Marquette was when he went there for the first time. He wound up leading the school to the Final Four.
He wasn’t supposed to be a lottery pick. He wound up getting drafted fifth overall.
He came to the Heat with most people thinking he would be a point guard. He became one of the two best shooting guards of all time.
He’s not perfect. He’s been divorced. He had to fight for custody of his kids. Some investments went bad. Plenty of experts said many years ago that Wade wasn’t an elite player anymore.
He’s still here. Still an All-Star, too, all the way to the end.
He’s like all of us. He’s flawed. He’s human. He cries.
One of his many marketing campaigns along this journey was based on a Chinese proverb that loosely says “fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
It should have been the credo for his whole career. Every time Wade was knocked down, he got up.
He showed us in 2006, down by 13 in the fourth quarter in Game 3 against the Mavericks that no, he wasn’t going out like this. He didn’t. The Heat won their first title three games later.
He told us after losing in the first round in 2010 that he wasn’t going out like that anymore, either. And he was right, again.
Wade had a ton of fluid drained from his left knee and needed eight hours of treatment just to get on the court for Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.
And he played like a boss that night to win Miami’s third NBA championship.
He left us for Chicago. It probably shouldn’t have happened.
But then he came back at the perfect time, days before the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead.
He was still mourning his cousin, who was shot to death on a street a few months earlier in Chicago while she was just trying to enroll her kids in school.
And when all of us were in mourning for Parkland, it was Wade who helped lift our spirits. He helped us become OK again.
Heat Nation brought out the best in Dwyane Wade.
Dwyane Wade brought out the best in Heat Nation, too.
The debate will rage forever: Is this a Dolphins town or a Canes town or a Heat town?
The answer is simple. It’s Wade’s town. It’s Wade County.
And as Pat Riley likes to say, that’s a forever thing.
Countless people in and around the NBA are asking why Wade is retiring. They feel like he has plenty left in the tank.
Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks even says the Heat should be fined for letting D-Wade retire.
But Wade knows that this is his time, and he wants to go out of this One Last Dance knowing that he was still among the game’s very best.