Former President Barack Obama sent a video, one of his numerous tributes. Fans came early and stayed late, reciting his name. His wife patted his back in acknowledgment of netting a 3-pointer. He collided with John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, drenching them with refreshment after slipping twice as he tried to make his mark jump onto the courtside table postgame.
Goodness, he started.
He scored 30 points.
And, Miami Heat won, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 122-99.
Playing his last game in Miami, and on Wednesday will play his last game in the NBA when the Heat closes this season in Brooklyn. There’s no playoff appearance anticipating, He wakes up on Wednesday and Thursday as a retired basketball player for the last time.
It looks like all that I’ve done has led up to this moment,” Wade said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for my last game and season in this arena.
DWYANE WADE’S CV
2003–2016 Miami Heat
2016–2017 Chicago Bulls
2017–2018 Cleveland Cavaliers
2018–present Miami Heat
3× NBA champion (2006, 2012, 2013)
NBA Finals MVP (2006)
13× NBA All-Star (2005–2016, 2019)
NBA All-Star Game MVP (2010)
After 16 seasons as an NBA player, with three titles, and a yearly spot in the All-Star Basketball Game, a scoring title, three franchises establishments, four kids, an Olympic gold medal with 161 colleagues, the end is here. He is prepared for whatever comes afterward.
“Ideally, I hope I’ve done enough for this state, the city, and for the fans, for the young kids here,” Wade said. “Hopefully, I can keep on being a mentor for them, (in the wake of) being a person who wasn’t given everything, who the odds were stacked against. Notwithstanding when I made it to the NBA, still they were odds stacked against me. But as it may be, I continued believing in myself. putting my head down and worked hard.”
The work made him a star, and from that point he turned into a legend – celebrated for what he’s done on and off the court.
His last game in Miami didn’t start off until 7:50 p.m. Tributes began to pour in before the game.
A Budweiser video indicated Wade getting blessings from individuals – his mom, Jolinda Wade, and others including Andrea Ghersi, the sister of slain teen Joaquin “Guac” Oliver – and also how he exchanged jerseys with fellow stars all season. Gatorade broadcast a video featuring Legends of the game, who sang a tribute to Wade’s No. 3. Miami Heat President Pat Riley composed a letter to Wade distributed in the game program, saying Wade will be cherished “forever.”
Ghersi gave Wade her sibling’s shirt in the video, which was taped a week ago. The shirt – No. 3, obviously – accompanied words scribbled in marker: “Kindly remember my brother.”
There was a pregame arrangement of the event inside the arena. Wade addressed the crowd, thanking his teammates – even the ones no longer on this current season’s list – by name. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where on Feb. 14, 2018, 17 of them were killed, played out the national anthem. It was kind of an emotional thing that the kids from MSD were there; the disaster touched Wade deeply and Oliver, one of the slain students, was buried in a Wade shirt.
The end of the anthem was overwhelmed by cheers. Wade’s face showed up on the video screens. The fans roared.
“Noooooooo,” Wade said. “You all are not going to make me cry before this game.”
His wife Gabrielle Union-Wade, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, former Miami Heat greats Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James, Miami Heat colleagues Udonis Haslem and Riley portrayed a 5-minute pregame video. Scarcely anybody was sitting. Indeed, even the 76ers remained on the floor and watched. Zaire Wade, his first son, introduced his father similarly to the one his dad taped “From Robbins, Illinois” commercial almost 15 years back.
TRIBUTES POUR OUT TO THE RETIRED LEGEND
“This city will be proud and pleased to rep your name over our backs,” Riley said.
Obama – like Wade, a proud Chicagoan – sent a taped message, amid the first half of the game.
“I hope that the next stage of your life is fulfilling and awesome as this one had been,” Obama said.
“A legend,” Toronto’s Kyle Lowry said.
“Still Amazing,” Dallas’ Luka Doncic said.
“My Idol,” Washington’s Bradley Beal said.
“A Leader,” Detroit’s Wayne Ellington said.
“True winner,” Phoenix’s Devin Booker said.