wade: one last dance

Five Reasons Everyone in Miami Should Thank Dwyane Wade

Ryan Yousefi, Miami New Times

1. Thank you for being a part of Heat Nation. In the end, Dwyane Wade has been more than just a sports hero; he's been one of us. Wade has been more than someone on a local sports team; he's been on our team. From recruiting LeBron James and Chris Bosh so Heat fans could experience four years of sports glory that will never be rivaled by anyone else, to defending us on Twitter from the comments of a random 76ers bench player, Wade has been one of us since 2003. 

2. Thank you for giving Miamians the sports hero they desperately needed at the perfect time. How much does Miami love Dwyane Wade? When he left in free agency, fans didn't burn his jersey; they stood in long lines for hours to buy more of them. That's not normal. After Dan Marino retired in 1999, it was a weird couple of years until the Heat drafted Wade. The Marlins won a World Series in that time — that's how weird things were back then. Imagining sports without Wade is, actually, unimaginable. It would be like desperately needing hot sauce and being handed ketchup. Ricky Williams came and went, and Jason Taylor tried his hardest. Miguel Cabrera and Giancarlo Stanton never had a chance. Miami needed Dwyane Wade. He added class. 

3. Thank you for never, ever being a man who accepted those who said you should just "shut up and dribble." Wade has touched countless lives in our community. He's taken hours out of his busy schedule to do everything from visiting a local hospital as a rookie to popping in to support the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the Parkland massacre. Wade has truly been a father to the entire South Florida community. Our debt to him is enormous before we even begin to talk about basketball. If Wade had been a local businessman who had done the things he's done to make people's lives better, we would have probably elected him to office. At the end of the day, basketball is just a sport that takes three hours out of a couple of days a week for fans. The things he's done off the court will live on in so many people's lives far longer than any memory of Wade Euro-stepping an opponent on the court. 

4. Thank you for making South Florida your adopted home. We know Chicago will always be first in Wade's heart, but we'd like to think, after all these years, South Florida is a close second. One of the biggest reasons fans love D-Wade is that they can tell South Florida is more than just a temporary stop for him until he retires. He's a part of us. He cares about us. He sticks up for us. He brags about us. He encourages other people to experience our town. It's been pretty apparent since day one that Miami and Wade have been a match made in heaven. 

Wade recently said he's not for everyone, but he's for Miami. Miami definitely can say the same. 

5. Thank you for making the Miami Heat a world-class franchise. When it's all said and done, and the NBA closes up shop, the history of the Heat will be written in two sections: B.W. and A.W., Before Wade, and After Wade. More specific: June 26, 2003, will be the day everything changed. We wouldn't have wanted any other player in that draft. Things just wouldn't have been the same. Before the Heat drafted Wade, it was a good NBA franchise that had had its moments. But 15 years later, the Heat is a household name people in every corner of the world recognize. When one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports plays for your franchise for a decade and a half, people take notice.

Thank you, Dwyane Wade, for being more than just a basketball player. Thank you for being a part of Miami we'll never forget. 

“My life is bigger than basketball.”

Wade understands that a celebrity’s responsibility is to inspire those who need it, and to support communities in order to build them up. Whether its through time, money, effort or vision, Wade strives to do provide for his family, team and community, justly.

The Wade’s World Foundation provides support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations. Dwyane was inspired to start the foundation because he wanted to give back to underserved communities and support issues of purpose. “I can’t just let basketball define who I am and what I am supposed to become,” said Wade. “Like my mother always tells me, ‘My life is bigger than basketball.’”

Since 2003, Dwyane and his family have been dedicated to giving back to their core communities in the Chicago and South Florida areas through a variety of community outreach programs. As the WWF continues to develop and expand, the mission is to touch young lives around the globe.

Dwyane has hosted a free basketball camp for nearly 600 youth from the Robbins, Illinois, area for the last four years and for the first time in August 2007, he hosted “A Week of Wade’s World in South Florida” – a week long series of events and appearances that touched hundreds of South Florida kids. With the goal of building a youth center in the area where he grew up, Dwyane will continue to support a variety of programs that inspire, uplift and motivate.

“I can’t just let basketball define who I am and what I am supposed to become. Like my mother always tells me, ‘My life is bigger than basketball.”

(Courtesy of the dwyanewade.com)