The year is 2006. It is game 6 of the NBA Finals and the Miami Heat have a 3-2 advantage over the Dallas Mavericks.
The score is 95-92, Miami is in the lead with Dallas in possession of the ball. 37 year old veteran Gary Payton picks up Jason Terry at half court with about 8 seconds left. At around 5 seconds, Dirk Nowitzki sets a screen at the three point line to leave The Jet wide open at the three point line where he collects his last dribble before pulling a three pointer to send the game into overtime. Dwyane Wade watches as the ball shoots over his head and towards the basket. CLANG. The ball bounces out of the ring and the #3 of the Miami Heat secures his 10th rebound of the game, and ultimately the game. He takes a single dribble and hurls the ball into the air as the buzzer sounds and he is surrounded by the Miami Heat bench and cameramen.
His legendary 36-10-5 stat line with 4 steals and 3 blocks sealed the Miami Heat their first NBA Championship, 18 years after they were added as an expansion team. Dwyane Wade has had games like this for any roster he’s signed onto since he was drafted by the Heat in the legendary ’03 draft class.
Wade has won 3 NBA Championships with the Miami Heat (2006, 2012, 2013). During his run with the Heat squad in 2006 he was awarded with the Finals MVP, commemorating his 34.7 points per game in the series on a solid 46% field goal percentage. To put how much he carried this ’06 Heat team into perspective, the next highest scorer was Antoine Walker who averaged just 13.8 points. During his 2012 NBA Championship, he was known as LeBron James’ second hand man, scoring just 30 less points than LeBron did in the finals, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-2. The 2013 NBA Championship brought Wade into an all new level of “stats don’t show everything” where his unselfish style of play brought the Heat their third ring.
Let’s flashback once more to 2005; Wade’s first NBA All Star Game, where he posted 14 points off the bench in a victory for his East team. It was 5 years into his 12 year streak in the All Star Game festivities where he achieved the All Star Game MVP, posting 28 points and 11 assists in a 139-141 victory for his team.
Continuing the tradition of All Star Weekend; he’s won two NBA All Star Skills Competitions in 2006 and 2007. This just adds to his already impressive resume as a captain for this Miami Heat franchise.
Dwyane Wade has notched the All NBA First Team in 2009 and 2010. In both of those seasons he led the NBA in points scored in the regular season. Wade has made the All NBA Second Team in 2005, 2006 and 2011 – impressive already for him. 2007, 2012 and 2013 saw Wade make the All NBA Third Team.
Let’s not forget about his great defensive stands. He’s made the Third NBA All Defensive Team thrice (2005, 2009, 2010). This doesn’t begin to describe his great defensive stance against anyone he matches with, whether it’s a 6′ 3″ sharpshooter from Golden State or a 6′ 11″ Milwaukee Buck young legend, Dwyane Wade can defend anyone. In fact, he’s the only player 6′ 4″ and under to record 700 or more blocks. Now that’s a defensive beast.
Lastly, let’s talk about his United States National Team stints. He won a bronze medal in 2004 and then a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. In 2006 he achieved a bronze medal in the FIBA World Championship. His play style works perfectly with national basketball as his game knows no selfishness.
To sum, Dwyane Wade has been a hero for our basketball league. Since the moment he’s been drafted he’s put nothing but heart into his game, and these are the results.
We’re going to miss the Flash zoom past his defenders to the basket and somehow make a heavily contested reverse layup. We’re going to miss his lock down defense on the most athletic freaks of nature we’ll see in the NBA. We’re going to miss his flashy yet sophisticated mid-range shots from the top of the key as he pops the jump to win the game.
We’re going to miss Dwyane Wade.