It’s official. No one else will ever wear the number 3 for the Miami Heat again, as the Dwyane Wade shirt was worn on the beams of the American Airlines Arena during the interval between the match between Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday evening. Wade became the sixth player in Heat’s history to withdraw his shirt, joining Chris Bosh, Tim Hardaway, Michael Jordan (Heat withdrew Jordan’s number out of respect even though he never played for the franchise), Shaquille O ‘Neal and Alonzo Mourning.
After his shirt was raised to the rafters, Wade made a speech; one who concluded by citing the legend of the last Lakers Kobe Bryant.
“Kobe said the most important thing is to try to inspire others so they can be good at whatever they try to do,” said Wade. “I hope I have inspired you.”
Wade played 14 seasons with the Heat after selecting him with the fifth overall choice in the 2003 Draft. He is the all-time leader of the team in several main categories, including games and minutes played, points, assists and thefts. He won three titles with Heat and was nominated for 13 All-Star Games during his tenure with the team.
It’s impossible to talk about Wade’s career without mentioning LeBron James. The two went to four consecutive NBA finals – and won two titles – as teammates in Miami from 2010 to 2014. So, it’s only fitting that James shared a congratulatory message with Wade before his number 3 shirt was worn to the beams in Miami on Saturday night.
“My brother D-Wade, I just want to congratulate you on picking up your shirt,” said James in a video. “I mean, am I really sitting here congratulating you on something we both knew would happen when we were sitting in the pre-Draft in Chicago? I feel like as soon as the Miami Heat drafted you and said Dwyane Wade left Marquette that the name and shirt went up into the beams. I think it was inevitable.
“I mean, should I really sit here wondering how ‘when will that statue go out of the American Airlines Arena?’ What will it be? Will it be the Flash dunk you made in the final when you won your first championship? I don’t know, nah, maybe not that. Is that where you are at the top of the board and say “this is my home”? Or maybe it’s what you keep pulling yourself up on the edge right there before the game starts … Congratulations brother, I love you. ”
James was far from the only one of Wade’s former teammates to congratulate the MVP of the 2006 finals on an illustrious career, as others like Caron Butler and Shaquille O’Neal did.
The weekend was memorable – and eventful – for Wade. His new documentary “Life Unexpected” will debut on Sunday, and on Friday he went on stage with rapper Rick Ross to perform a new song that the two of them together titled “Season Ticket Holder”. You can see that performance below:
February 22, 2020 was also officially declared Dwyane Wade Day in Miami-Dade County by Mayor Francis Suarez.