BREAKING NEWS Decatur Police investigate fatal shooting Full Story

‘Amazing’: Dwyane Wade plays his last game in Miami

Wade's last game in Miami was Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Posted: Apr 9, 2019 9:58 PM

MIAMI (AP) — Come Thursday, Dwyane Wade will have no games left.

That is the reality, like it or not. After 16 seasons as an NBA player, after three championships, an almost-annual spot in the All-Star Game, a scoring title, three franchises, four children, an Olympic gold medal and 161 teammates, the end is here.

On Tuesday, Wade was playing his final regular-season home game when the Miami Heat hosted the Philadelphia 76ers — with Wade in the starting lineup for the first time all season. On Wednesday, it’ll be a game at Brooklyn to end the season. The Heat started Tuesday with a slim playoff chance, which ended when Detroit beat Memphis.

“I gave this game everything I had,” Wade said. “And I have appreciated every bit of it.”

So Tuesday was the farewell in Miami for Wade. It was the 576th and final time he played at AmericanAirlines Arena, all but one of those coming in a Heat uniform.

“It’s been incredible. It’s been amazing,” Wade said. “A lot of people in that arena have watched me grow, have watched me be imperfect, have watched me make a lot of mistakes in life, as well as watched me blossom and watched me do amazing things, great things. I’m thankful for it.”

The game didn’t tip off until 7:50 p.m. Tributes started in the morning.

A Budweiser video showed Wade getting gifts from people — his mother, Jolinda Wade, and others including Andrea Ghersi, the sister of slain teen Joaquin “Guac” Oliver — in a nod to the way he’s exchanged jerseys with fellow players all season. Gatorade aired a video starring John Legend , who sang a tribute to Wade’s No. 3. Heat President Pat Riley wrote a letter to Wade published in the game program, saying Wade will be loved “forever and for always.”

Ghersi gave Wade her brother’s jersey in the video, which was taped last week. The jersey — No. 3, of course — came with words scrawled in marker: “Please don’t forget my brother.”

There was a pregame series of events inside the arena. Wade addressed the crowd, thanking every teammate — even ones no longer on this season’s roster — by name. Wade’s children were there. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, where the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre left 17 dead, performed the national anthem. It was fitting that the kids from MSD were there; the tragedy touched Wade deeply and Oliver, one of the victims, was buried in a Wade jersey.

The end of the anthem was drowned out by cheers. Wade’s face appeared on the video screens. The fans roared.

“Noooooooo,” Wade said. “Y’all are not about to make me cry before this game.”

His wife Gabrielle Union-Wade, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, former Heat greats Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James, Heat teammate Udonis Haslem and Riley narrated a 5-minute pregame video. Hardly anyone was sitting. Even the 76ers stayed on the floor and watched, looking up the whole time. Zaire Wade, his oldest son, introduced his dad in the same way that his father taped his famous “From Robbins, Illinois” commercial nearly 15 years ago.

“This city will always be proud to rep your name across our backs,” Riley said.

Former President Barack Obama — like Wade, a proud Chicagoan — sent a taped message as well, playing during the first timeout.

“I hope that the next phase of your life is just as fulfilling and just as spectacular as this one has been,” Obama said.

Wade “L3GACY” shirts were given to fans, some of whom spent thousands of dollars for their seats. They got Wade commemorative lanyards. They bought Wade apparel. Some arena workers asked if they could be excused from wearing the usual game-night garb and don Wade jerseys instead. Fans flew in from as far as Australia and China. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent his regards in a video.

There also was a game, which seemed ancillary. The first shot? A dunk, by Wade. The decision for him to start was made by him and Spoelstra about six hours before gametime. The reason? They wanted that moment, one more time.

“I don’t want this to end,” said Spoelstra, who arrived for work Tuesday wearing a shirt with a photo of the scene that followed Wade’s game-winning shot against Golden State emblazoned across his chest. “I’m literally having more fun this year and last year than in any of the other years with Dwyane.”

They are the same in so many ways, Wade and Spoelstra. Both came to the Heat as unsure young men. Both have three championship rings now. Both are likely for the Basketball Hall of Fame. When Spoelstra was promoted to head coach in April 2008, he was unsure if he’d be able to handle the job — until he met with Wade a few months later and got pumped full of confidence.

“That’s what great players do,” Spoelstra said. “You talk about Hall of Fame players, they make the other players around them better. Well, great, Hall of Fame, superstar players also make their coaches better. And that’s what Dwyane did.”

Wade is beloved in Miami, of course, for obvious reasons. Beloved in Chicago, too, his hometown. Beloved in Milwaukee, where he took Marquette to a Final Four in 2003.

And this farewell tour — the “One Last Dance” — is a league-wide victory lap for someone NBA players rave about.

“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.

Wade isn’t 2008 Wade, or Big 3-era Wade, or NBA Finals MVP Wade anymore. But he’s still superb, and with a flair for the dramatic — such as the buzzer-beater to top Golden State a few weeks ago. He’s been the best Heat player all season. It’s hard to imagine how Miami will replace him, because he is going to be clearly missed.

But that’s also part of the reason why this season is his last. Wade didn’t want to go out as a shell of his former self. He wanted to leave the stage with the fans clamoring for more, and that is precisely what has occurred.

“That’s the sweet part of it, seeing him be able to go off on his own terms, saying when he’s done,” James said. “Nobody forced him out or did anything of that nature. He’s able just to hang it up when he was ready to hang it up and be at peace with it all.”

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
94° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 100°
Florence
Clear
95° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 97°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 92°
Decatur
Few Clouds
93° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 97°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 102°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12969243
Mobile9836206
Montgomery6609148
Madison531433
Tuscaloosa419073
Unassigned356061
Baldwin350224
Shelby326035
Marshall313035
Lee266045
Morgan236918
Etowah210431
DeKalb179813
Calhoun176113
Elmore171538
Walker152064
Houston138612
Russell13582
St. Clair132817
Dallas131823
Limestone131813
Franklin127020
Cullman122012
Colbert117113
Lauderdale115717
Autauga108621
Escambia107516
Talladega100913
Jackson9684
Tallapoosa85479
Chambers84038
Dale82723
Blount7884
Chilton7886
Butler75836
Coffee7566
Covington73420
Pike7037
Clarke6629
Barbour5735
Lowndes57124
Marion57024
Marengo55315
Hale47326
Bullock46311
Winston45011
Perry4404
Bibb4265
Wilcox42610
Monroe4194
Randolph39610
Pickens3929
Conecuh38810
Washington38612
Sumter36018
Lawrence3481
Macon33414
Crenshaw3143
Choctaw28112
Cherokee2707
Henry2593
Geneva2570
Clay2525
Greene25011
Lamar2202
Fayette2045
Cleburne1261
Coosa1012
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 120585

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby22916301
Davidson20383213
Rutherford646354
Hamilton606253
Knox451338
Williamson347825
Sumner340473
Unassigned312810
Out of TN286014
Wilson226223
Bradley190312
Montgomery190213
Sevier18507
Putnam174018
Trousdale15826
Robertson153519
Hamblen138314
Blount127711
Maury12257
Washington12252
Tipton11959
Madison106417
Sullivan96214
Bedford91811
Hardeman89817
Macon85813
Lake7820
Loudon7253
Bledsoe6951
Gibson6935
Fayette6868
Dickson6792
Anderson6766
Dyer6287
Cheatham5787
Henderson5632
Jefferson5593
Lawrence5506
Obion5464
McMinn53120
Rhea5282
Coffee5223
Carter5126
Warren5074
Lauderdale4898
Greene4678
Haywood4636
Hardin4628
Roane4612
Cocke4572
Hawkins4517
Cumberland4506
Smith4454
Weakley4214
Monroe4189
Giles37813
McNairy3715
DeKalb3492
Franklin3254
Carroll2963
Marshall2903
White2815
Lincoln2801
Henry2760
Claiborne2660
Crockett2664
Johnson2650
Hickman2590
Campbell2471
Wayne2252
Marion2224
Chester2172
Polk2043
Decatur1983
Grainger1960
Overton1801
Unicoi1610
Union1540
Benton1481
Cannon1430
Jackson1241
Humphreys1203
Morgan1181
Scott1180
Grundy1132
Sequatchie1050
Meigs1040
Fentress920
Perry790
Hancock782
Clay750
Stewart740
Lewis731
Moore610
Houston570
Van Buren360
Pickett311

Community Events