Dwyane Wade should end his career with the Miami Heat

JINAN, CHINA - JULY 14: NBA player Dwyane Wade attends a commercial event on July 14, 2018 in Jinan, Shandong province of China. (Photo by VCG)
JINAN, CHINA - JULY 14: NBA player Dwyane Wade attends a commercial event on July 14, 2018 in Jinan, Shandong province of China. (Photo by VCG) /

Joining the CBA is a nice option, but Dwyane Wade belongs with the Miami Heat.

Details have emerged around the announcement that Dwyane Wade was offered a “monster” deal from a Chinese Basketball Association club.

$25 million for three years was the price set by the Zhejiang Golden Bulls.

The Golden Bulls managed a 20-18 record through the 2017-18 CBA season, placing 11th out of the league’s 20 teams and narrowly missing out on a bid for the playoffs.

Accepting the offer would mean Wade would join the ranks of one of the CBA’s oldest franchises.

He’d fill a roster that once played host to former Miami Heat members Eddy Curry, Mike James and Jarnell Stokes. At the price of around $8 million per year, Wade would rake in more money than he would by signing Miami’s mid-level exception.

And, if he was feeling like giving back, his presence in China might even serve to boost the Heat’s international fan base.

But by no means should Wade sign in China.

The offer was a kind gesture for sure, but the extent of Wade’s Chinese basketball career should be limited to the eight games he played during the 2008 Beijing hosted Olympic Games.

Love of the Game

Three NBA championships and a Finals MVP aren’t procured through lackadaisical engagement on the basketball court. Through 15 seasons, Wade has gone to battle with every intention of competing at the highest level.

"“There’s no better place to be right now to continue to play and compete at the highest level,” Wade wrote on Twitter after joining the Cleveland Cavaliers last season. “Cleveland believes in my talents and what I can bring to a championship contender both as a player and leader.”"

Wade was set to turn 36 last season and he entered with the mindset of a 20-year-old. After a huge payday and buyout with the Chicago Bulls, Wade was ready to continue stacking his hall of fame ballot with accolades.

His plan didn’t entirely come to fruition, but the dream was there.

Wade recognized that Cleveland, with their consecutive Finals runs, presented the best opportunity to continue to play against the best the NBA had to offer.

You can’t say the same would apply in China.

Though the CBA stands as one of the more popular international professional basketball associations, it pales in comparison to that of the NBA. The same could be said for Euroleague.

Sure, plenty of stars have emerged from Europe – look no further than Miami’s own Goran Dragic.

But for every aspiring baller, the NBA represents the pinnacle of competition.

At this juncture of his career, money is no longer an object for Wade. He holds an estimated net worth of $95 million as of 2017, and his lifetime deal with Li-Ning is sure to line his coffers for years to come.

Despite his excessive funds, his access to prime competition in the NBA is priceless. Nowhere else could Wade drill a game-winner over a player lauded as the second-coming of Magic Johnson.

Even coming off the bench in head coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotations, Wade’s appetite for competition can only be sated in the NBA. A healthy Heat team could pose a threat in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and by staying in Miami Wade gets to be a part of the action.

More than a game

Beyond reasons on the hardwood, Wade joining the CBA would be ill-fitting for the end of his career.

In the NBA, Wade has earned a reputation. Choosing to use his platform to address social injustice, Wade has taken a stand for the disadvantaged.

His charity, Wade’s World Foundation, impactfully serves his native Chicagoland area, supporting initiative against gun violence. He’s organized events to unite the Miami area with its police force, and has unforgettably stood alongside his colleagues at the ESPYs to promote social activism.

Thus, the NBA and its connection to innumerable photo opportunities and broadcasts have provided Wade the ability to affect change beyond his knack for putting the ball through the basket. When mentions of NBA “intangibles” get tossed around, Wade stands as a prime example of sustaining his athletic career with his altruistic nature.

Physically active in the communities in which he affects change, a stint in the CBA then would likely mean a moratorium on his surprise uplifting appearances.

Still, at the end of the day, Wade really can’t make a bad choice here.

Building his profile in China can still support his well-meaning nature, even if it removes him from his base of operations for a few months each year.

Heat Nation is rightly attached to its most influential player. Keeping Wade close is a heartfelt reaction to a career that has touched so many in all the right ways.

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Finishing what he started right at home in Miami would be the storybook ending to one of the NBA’s greatest tales.