Miami! A city of neon lights, wild nightlife, and sandy beaches. Next to the Bayside Marketplace on Biscayne Boulevard sits the American Airlines Arena. Home to the Flash, the Mayor of Miami, our beloved (Announcer Voice) DWYAAAAAAAANNNNNNNEEEE WAAAAAAAAAAADE! The man who saved The Miami Heat.
The Draft That Changed It All
The Year is 2003 and your Miami Heat have just finished up an abysmal season ending in a 25-57 record. They land the number 5 pick in what’s to be a loaded 2003 NBA draft. Side note, this is still considered the best draft class in NBA history. Erik Spoelstra is an assistant coach under then head coach Pat Riley. Even with the likes of Riley as team President and Head Coach, the Heat were finding it hard to stay afloat. That all changed in 2003 at Madison Square Garden.
With that fifth overall pick, the Miami Heat selected Junior guard Dwyane Wade out of Marquette University. At the time, no one could possibly have known how right the Heat
Flash Has Arrived
Dwyane’s impact was felt immediately as he helped the Heat improve by 17 wins from the previous season and brought them all the way to the second round of the playoffs. Wade quickly began to light the NBA on fire with his insane finishing abilities and his incredible speed. That speed helped garner his nickname, Flash, given to him by new teammate Shaquille O’Neal.
In 2005, Pat Riley took back the coaching duties and the team went on to get a rematch with Detroit in the conference finals. They won the series 4-2 this time and were headed to the Franchise’s first Finals appearance to take on Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks. The series started off poorly as Miami found themselves in a 0-2 hole. However, in Game 3 with 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter down 13 points, Dwyane took over. He ended with 42 points that game and the Heat never looked back. Miami took the next 3 games to win the series and Wade had cemented his place in Heat history by bringing them their first title. Dwyane won Finals MVP averaging a staggering 34.7 points per game and Miami was on top of the basketball world. Flash had arrived and the NBA would never be the same.
Dwyane Wade will play his final regular season game in a Miami Heat uniform on Wednesday, April 10th, in Brooklyn, New York. Flash is
He will step away from the game being the NBA all-time leader in blocks at the guard position, as well as the Miami Heat’s franchise leader in scoring, minutes played, assists, steals, and free throw attempts. From 2003, to our first championship, to the Big 3 era, to post Lebron, we always had Dwyane Wade! If I had to pick any one moment that sums up Wade as a player it would have to be the double overtime game-winner against Chicago. Flash drained a running three to win it and jumped up on the scorer’s table and screamed for all of Miami to hear “THIS IS MY HOUSE!” Miami was his and we loved every second of it.
Bigger Than Basketball
Wade also made a huge splash off the court starting in his rookie year when he founded his own charity, Wade’s World Foundation. A charity that provided support for other South Florida based organizations that promoted education, health, and social skills for children in at-risk homes. Wade embraced his stardom in Miami and used it to help the city, his family, and the less fortunate. He was always going to be bigger than basketball!
Above all the amazing plays, the game winners, the blocks, and the Finals victories, he gave the city of Miami someone to look up to. You could turn on the TV and see more than just the starting shooting guard for the Miami Heat. You saw someone you could look up to! Thank you Dwyane for giving South Florida a role model and a real life SUPER HERO!
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