Not too often does a once-in-a-generation player transcends the game and the community like Dwyane Wade has for the city of Miami and the Miami Heat. Wade’s aura drenched those close to him, not only on the bench, but also seamlessly reached out above the crowds and into the nosebleed, far up in the 400s at the AAA when he stepped on the court to represent Wade-County.
As a Miamian, the feels were that of a close friend, a role model, even a father figure walking away. The feeling now is far too familiar from the time Wade departed Miami for Chicago in 2017. We quickly learned then, that even though he was no longer a member of our basketball team, it did not lessen the connection we had to each other or the impact he held to this city. As any close family does, we felt a deep emptiness due to distance, but celebrated his successes with him, even if he was not wearing an iconic flaming basketball on his jersey. Here in Miami, we admired from afar hoping he would miss us as much as we missed him. We knew deep inside, he NEEDED us too.
“Act III” of his legendary story gave us something rarely seen in sports: Logic. As a fan, it is not easy to differentiate Love from the individual and the team, but to accept Wade’s brief departure was the most mature handling of any relationship any fan has ever done. It was something he had to do, and we accepted, we LET him go. It was Logic: Dwyane belonged to Miami, forever.
Wade experienced his share of difficult moments in life, from seeing his mother be incarcerated to battling for custody of his kids. When it came to his own personal trials and tribulations, he handled it with grace. I don’t believe there was a moment of negativity towards those situations from him, but more of an understanding of what the process was to learn and grow. It was then that I knew this man was a respectable and honorable member of our South Florida Community. The connection through good and bad times built the unbreakable bond that brought him back to Miami and made us all believe that 3 is a magic number.
Like that of a political figure, he was the diplomat that represented his culture without the need for immunity. Wade carried himself as if he owed it to the world to be a true leader and a role model. Wade was never in the limelight for getting into scuffles at a club in South Beach, we never read news of him being arrested, no one woke up to Breaking News about his personal life; he carried responsibility heavy on his shoulders. He always took the high road and understood how to not make a situation worse than it already was.
I was happy for him when he won the custody battle for his kids, he presented the best living conditions for his children and never faltered to openly display his love and support for them. With Gabrielle Union by his side and the new addition to their growing family, we see firsthand the love the Wade family has for one another.
An empire has been built with the letters W-A-D-E as the foundation, Wade built a brand, an ideology, a legend. This foundation loured sponsorships with big names such as Gatorade, Li-Ning, and Hublot. It’s the talent, respect and national star power that has elevated his legacy into an international superstar.
The “One Last Dance” tour allowed the NBA to celebrate Dwyane Wade in a manner that has never been seen before by Miami fans for one of theirs. This tour solidifies his legacy and contributes to the classy guy that Wade has proven himself to be. Miami has an elevated admiration for the sport Wade built in Miami and the Heat can now carry a winning culture into the future thanks to #3.
Budweiser has always been so good at sharing feel-good stories/commercials and wanted to jump in on the Wade-wagon. Budweiser ‘s ode to Wade commercial accurately depicts the community man he is today and his journey. Now the world can watch part of what we witnessed in Miami: the pleasure to watch Wade grow, the moment the Miami Heat selected him 5th overall in 2003, becoming a prince to his kingdom, and nurturing this role and his community. After 16 years of reign and loyalty, it was no surprise we now anoint him, King of Miami, thus formally naming his kingdom, as it will always be known: Wade County
Thank you for everything Dwyane.
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