Basketball fans are celebrating the storied career of Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade after his announcement that the coming 2018-2019 NBA season would be his last in the league.
‘One last dance’
The 36-year-old veteran announced through a video that he will return to play one more season with the Heat.
In the ten-minute monologue, Wade reflects on his life prior to becoming one of basketball’s most celebrated shooting guards and thanks his fans and family for supporting him throughout his career.
He also acknowledged how age had stifled his once-explosive athleticism and accepted that his days playing in the NBA were drawing to a close.
“I’m gonna give it. Everything else I have left, I’m gonna give it for one last season. And when I walk away, I’m still gonna love it,” said Wade in the video.
Basketball fans around the world are paying tribute following his announcement.
You probably won't notice this because there's millions of us but I still want to thank you You dont know how much you meant to my life Its such a pain knowing I won't get to see you play in person but hey that's life There's more to life than basketball @DwyaneWade #OneLastDance
— paopaowiii (@paolo_black08) September 18, 2018
It was my dream to see you play in AAA., now it's never going to happen (coz I don't have the means to go there any time soon?). Guess I should just wait for you when you visit my country. You promised it and I'm holding on to that. ♀❤ #MyIdol #MyHero #MyLoveyWADEy #MyGOAT pic.twitter.com/5VhqK5p0ry
— Juli3nne (@fan_geisha28) September 18, 2018
The 6’4 Wade, who grew up in the rough suburbs of Chicago, rose from the streets to become a star with Marquette University in the United States’ National Collegiate Athletic Association.
He registered stellar averages of 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in his two years with Marquette, becoming a top prospect when he joined the 2003 rookie draft.
He was part of the vaunted 2003 draft class, having been picked fifth behind other future stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, who would also later become his most notable friends and teammates in his career.
Nicknamed “The Flash” because of his speed and athleticism as a slasher, Wade became the first in the celebrated class of 2003 to win an NBA trophy, when in 2006 he led that year’s 52-30 Heat, a team full of aging stars and youngsters, to a six-game finals victory over the favored Dallas Mavericks led by Dirk Nowitzki in his prime.
The performance put up by Wade is considered one of the best Finals MVP performances in the history of the NBA. Then just 24 years old, he led the Heat from a 0-2 hole at the start of the series to win the next four games on the to way title, averaging 34.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.7 steals and a block while playing a taxing 43 minutes a game.
He won two more championships in 2012 and 2013, when his friends from the 2003 draft James and Bosh joined the Heat to form the ‘Big 3.’
Now playing in a supporting role to James, Wade was panned for his lackluster performance in the Heat’s 2014 title defense against the San Antonio Spurs. Some basketball writers blamed Wade for the loss in the series, which led to James’ decision to leave Miami to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Still an effective scorer despite being plagued by injuries, Wade left Miami to play for his home team Chicago Bulls in the 2016-2017 season, averaging 18.3 points in 60 games.
He spent the first half of the 2017-2018 season playing with James in Cleveland, but was traded back home to the Heat in February 2018.
He will retire in 2019 with one scoring title, one Finals MVP, one All-star Game MVP, three NBA titles, 12 All-star selections, eight All-NBA selections and three defensive second-team selections to his name.