MIAMI - This is really happening, and I don’t think any Heat fan is ready for it.
Dwyane Wade’s final game in Miami is something we all knew would come one day, so why are we having such a hard time accepting it?
He’s happy. He’s going out on his own terms. Healthy and still very productive, Wade is doing something very few athletes can do at the end; playing at a high level and with no regrets.
Yet, we don’t want it to end.
We don’t want to accept it because in doing so we have to admit just how much Wade has meant to South Florida, and how much his void will have an impact.
Dwyane is our face. He is also our voice.
On the court, he’s brought us so many special memories. The championships, the “this is my house” moments and buzzer beating shots. There’s too many to list.
Off the court, he’s the person we turn to. From helping countless families during the holidays or times of need, to surprising students after a tragedy like Parkland to being our voice on social issues that need national attention. Dwyane has been there.
Now, he won’t be. At least not on the court.
So, as I try to put into perspective how much Wade has meant to the Heat franchise and the city of Miami, I do think about the great moments. I do reflect on the moments I was lucky enough to see. I’m so thankful, like all of South Florida, to have been a witness.
But, the focus on Dwyane Wade is so much more than just basketball.
He recently told me that when he came to Miami in 2003 he had no idea what to expect. He was a young man from Robbins, Illinois who grew up in Chicago and had never spent time in Miami. He told me he stepped out to his hotel balcony after his first night here and looked around the city. He looked at the water and the skyline and said, “this is my home now.”
Little did he or anyone know at that moment that 16 years later it would still be his home. Not just his home but his city.
We may never see him on a basketball court here again after Tuesday night, but he’ll always be around. That bond and love will never change.
In the end, the legacy of Dwyane Wade will live forever. He is as recognizable as that Miami skyline he admired when he arrived.
Wade has said that Michael Jordan wasn’t from Chicago, but everyone treated him like he was. Well, Wade is our Michael Jordan.
Because while Dwyane Wade wasn’t born in Miami, he has become Miami.
He will always be Miami.
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