Thank You, Dwyane: Miami Will Never Be The Same
Just like that, arguably the most iconic individual in Miami sports history is gone. Like numerous players around the NBA, Dwyane Wade decided to go back home; in his case to Chicago, Illinois to play for the Bulls. The undoubted first ballot Hall of Famer has worn a Heat uniform for the entirety of his 13-year career. This is a very, very sad day for the city of Miami, who will see the most decorated and loved player in the history of Miami Heat basketball play in another uniform next season.
With Wade departing to the Windy City, the Heat lost its identity. This was Dwyane’s team. When LeBron was here, it was Dwyane’s team. When Shaq was here, it was still Dwyane’s team. If you were to go around the city of Miami and ask people on the street who their favorite player is, odds are they are going to say Dwyane Wade.
Wade is the city of Miami. He is a three-time NBA Champion (2006, 2012, 2013), 12-time All-Star (2005-2016), two-time All-NBA First Team (2009, 2010), three-time All-NBA Second Team (2005, 2006, 2011), three-time All-NBA Third Team (2007, 2012, 2013), and an NBA scoring champion (2009).
His accomplishments don’t even begin to describe what he has brought to South Florida. Wade founded and operates a charity called Wade’s World Foundation. This foundation promotes education, health, and social skills for children in tough situations in Miami as well as Chicago and Milwaukee. According to Wade’s World Foundation, he started the charity because “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.’”
He has brought so much happiness and joy to the city as a whole. Some people are going to call his departure greedy because he wouldn’t take less money, but Wade is the furthest thing from it. He has never once been the highest paid player on the team, so this so-called greed (as you can see from his career statistics above) is well deserved.
This is a brutally tough goodbye. Dwyane has decided to take on a new challenge. According to the Sun Sentinel, the man himself stated, “My job, my whole life, I’ve always had that kind of doubter, people have always doubted me. And I don’t know how I would succeed without it. So I welcome it, and it gives me a challenge, and I will see if I can live up to my challenge.”
Good luck in Chicago, Dwyane – even though many will disagree with your decision, the city of Miami will always love and appreciate you and everything you have done. Even though you were born in Chicago, Miami will always be your home.
Listen to Episode 2 of The Deep End Miami Podcast as we discuss the Dwyane Wade decision in an emotional show, recorded less than an hour after news broke of Wade’s deal to sign with the Chicago Bulls.