Dwyane Wade, better known as D-Wade and once upon a time known as ‘Flash’, has effectively turned back the clocks of time. Selected 5th overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the Miami Heat, he has become the paternal figure on the team playing with greats such as Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal, Lebron James and Chris Bosh.
He’s been playing with the Heat for over 13 years, and is still able to lead the table and set the pace for games. He plays like he’s 10 years younger with an IQ of someone who has been in the game for 10 years longer. After his most recent game, this three-time NBA champion, former Finals MVP, is now up to 3,614 postseason points. There is a reason Miami Dade County is frequently nicknamed Wade County.
Dwyane Wade passes Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time playoff scoring list. pic.twitter.com/c1zjrPKEfl
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 1, 2016
After their Game 7 win over the Charlotte Hornets, I think it’s time we all take a second to appreciate Dwyane Wade – Heat fan or not. Wade prophetically stated that, “I knew we were winning this game” and inspired confidence among Heat fans. Putting up only 12 points didn’t mean his leadership didn’t carry throughout the rest of the team, as the entire team outscored the Hornets 106 to 73. I’m surprised the Heat didn’t even have Chris Bosh take a few shots in his full suit. Wade has been seasoned for this type of pressure and carried his team past two elimination games to close out a first-round win. There was absolutely no way that Wade would allow the Heat to get eliminated at home by the Hornets.
The Heat have changed their playing style a lot in the past couple years, and Wade has been around to guide every transition. LeBron James leaving Wade and Bosh behind when he went back to play for Cleveland left a serious power rift on the team, and this season Chris Bosh has been out since the All-Star break. The Big Three has become the Big One – and the responsibilities couldn’t fall to a better player to handle that than the Heat-lifer himself.
Before the game started, Wade was seen crying during the National Anthem. When asked about what was going on through his head, he said: “Just focus. Just focus, thinking about the moment. This team all season we’ve had opportunities to cave, and every time we’ve been in that situation, we’ve somehow prevailed. I’m proud of this team, and I knew tonight would be a great moment for these guys … I was just thinking about how these guys were going to feel after playing in a Game 7.”
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) May 1, 2016
This says it all about the type of character that comes along with the high level of talent behind number 3 for the Heat.
Tonight was full of reflection for Wade and fellow Heat stalwart Udonis Haslem. “Just being here together,” Wade said. “For 13 years we’ve been a part of making this organization a championship organization. We’ve been to five (NBA) Finals in 10 years, and we know how hard it was to do that. We just talked about trying to get the guys who have never been here to understand how hard it is to be successful.”
The difference between Wade and most players in the NBA nowadays is that he is working to leave a legacy with a team, rather than a legacy for himself. It’s rare for someone with so much talent to look past the monetary and championship temptations of free agency, and recruit those mercenary players like Shaq and LeBron effectively to bring some championship banners to the American Airlines Arena. His first championship was with Shaq in 2006, and his next two were with LeBron and Bosh in 2012 and 2013.
I believe Wade has at least one more championship left in the tank.