There was a time when Dwyane Wade was dominating the NBA and without a doubt he will go down as one of the greatest shooting guards in the game’s history. He was clutch and a mean two-way player who blocked endless shots despite his 6’ 4” frame. How the Incredible Wade came to mind was during a recent interview with the Heat’s play-by-play announcer, Eric Reid on The All Sports Talk Show with host, Isaac Edelman with Grant Flood (myself) and Samuel Reis on Sportscastr, he inspired me to write this article after hearing how Dwyane Wade scored an unbelievable triple-double in his final NBA game against the Brooklyn Nets at the age of 37. Unquestionably, he had one of the most prolific careers in NBA history, from playing 16 seasons, to 13 All-Star games (12 straight) and capping it off on becoming a 3 time champion with the Miami Heat. He showed nonstop determination and greatness on the court which is why he is still an inspiration to many today.
He holds so many iconic moments with the Heat since he was drafted back in 2003, 5th overall, one of the best draft classes in NBA history with the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh. In Wade’s rookie season, the Heat wasted no time putting him to work as he played an average of 34.9 minutes a game, that along with a .477 2 point rate which landed him easily on the 2004 All Rookie Team. In 2004-05, Wade would make his first of twelve straight All-Star games as he improved from 4.5 assists per game to 6.8 assists per game, third highest of his career. In 2005-06, Shaquille O’Neal and Wade took the NBA by storm and the Heat won their first of three championships beating the heavily favorite Dallas Mavericks in 6 games averaging 28.4 points a game in the playoffs and receiving the NBA Finals MVP honors. Even with Wade leading the league in points with 30.2 a game in 2008-09, the Heat would continue to be a playoff contender but could not get over the hump as the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic started to dominate the Eastern Conference. That was until the Heat built a near unstoppable team signing Lebron James and Chris Botch, the Heat were as hot as the Miami sun! Wade and his All-Star teammates, Lebron, Chris and D-Wade, known as the Big Three powered through the Eastern Conference but the Mavericks got their revenge against the Heat in the 2011 Finals, nevertheless, a dynasty was on the horizon. The Heat won the NBA Finals back to back years beating Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011-12 and a thrilling seven game series against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs in 2012-2013. Gradually, Wade’s point totals went down but was still a main contributor hitting over .250 of 3 pointers, making over 6.5% of 2 point shots and playing over 35 minutes along with not missing a game in either playoff run. The Spurs beat the Heat in the 2014 Finals sending James back to his hometown to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Heat couldn’t surpass the second round, changes were made. The Heat icon left in free agency to play with the hot and cold Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls, he scored 18.3 points a game, the lowest since his rookie year. Then in 2017-18, he joined the Cavaliers to reunite with James but the two were unable to spark the magic they once shared. Many thought he should have retired then and there but halfway through the season he returned to the Heat. Wade was no longer a starter but contributed to the team’s winning record of 44 - 38 and clinched a playoff spot but we didn’t see the Wade we knew until the following year which would be his last, 15.0 points a game, a field goal percentage of .433 and one last All-Star game. Wade would not disappoint his fans without some spectacular moments in his final NBA season, the epic 3 pointer buzzer beater to defeat the eventual Western Conference Champion, Golden State Warriors, another was his last game in Miami with an unforgettable 30 points to beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 122 - 99 and finally with classic style ending his NBA career game with a triple double against the Brooklyn Nets.
A player of this magnitude has repeatedly put the fans and the desire of building a championship team first before himself as he took hometown discounts to help his team compete for the ultimate goal - The Larry O’Brien trophy. Wade has played each game with heart which is shown by his list of achievements and his final numbers of 1,054 career games totaled 23,165 points, a 76.5 free throw percentage combining with 120.7 win shares along with 0.8 blocks per season.
Pro Basketball References gives Wade a 100% Hall of Fame probability. It’s a no brainer, he will head to Springfield, Massachusetts in 2022 to deliver his Hall of Fame speech.