One Last Miami Heat Dance: An open letter to Dwyane Wade

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 24: Dwayne Wade /

Dwyane Wade has announced he’s re-signing with the Miami Heat for his 16th and final season in the NBA; here’s what the superstar’s game has meant to one AllUCanHeat contributor.

When I first started watching the NBA, I was in seventh grade.

My former step-parent lived in Miami for a while and was a fan, so the Miami Heat naturally became the team that I watched.

Just to give some background, I did not know anything about the NBA.

Like, nothing.

The only player I could recognize at the time was LeBron James, and that was because a kid in my class had his face on a shirt and I heard him talking to his friends one day in gym class about “LeBron.” I knew nothing about his game or him really even coming to Miami, other than it was a big thing.

Long story short, I did not understand the magnitude of who he was at the time.

But what I did know is that after watching enough of the Heat, I was drawn to Dwyane Wade and his game more than anyone else on the court.

I remember getting a gift card to the mall nearby and going to buy a cotton, burgundy-red, not-so-great-quality t-shirt with a screen printed ‘Miami’ and ‘3’ on the front, and ‘Wade’ and ‘3’ on the back.

It was the only Wade shirt that I believe existed in the state of Michigan at the time. I still have it in my closet today, but it has certainly seen better days.

I remember watching clips of the NBA Finals in 2006 — since I had not been watching the NBA back then — and being mesmerized with the way Wade played the game and helped will that Heat team to a championship.

As he talked about in the ‘One Last Dance’ video, staying true to who you are on and off the court is important; that is something which I admired greatly and still do to this day.

I remember watching the Heat win back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013.

What a time that was.

Wade doing confetti angels on the ground is an image forever ingrained in my mind when I think about that championship in 2013.

I remember my first game at AmericanAirlines Arena and getting to watch Wade play in his county, the place that loves him like he is their own.

This was a very memorable trip being from Michigan. The Heat played the Detroit Pistons (ironic, I know) on April 5, 2016. I had been to AmericanAirlines Arena for a game a few years earlier, but Wade was unfortunately out at the time with an injury. Wade had 16 points that night, as the Heat beat the Pistons.

Plus I got to try on one of the team’s championship rings from 2013, so it was all around a good day.

I remember when Wade left for Chicago.

That was hard because Wade meant so much to the City of Miami and to the fans. To make things a little worse, it did not end on the best of notes with president Pat Riley. It was tough, but I knew that eventually, Wade would return…

And he did.

My most recent memory of Wade is when I went to the Heat’s home game on March 8 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

He had a monstrous dunk off an assist from Josh Richardson and pumped his arms up in the air.

The energy in AmericanAirlines Arena was electric.

It was a perfect moment.

I remember seeing that play in real time and flashing back to when I bought that Wade shirt and wore it to school for the first time. It was one of those tiny moments in life that you’ll never forget.

There are hundreds of other memorable moments that I have between each of the ones mentioned, but I will keep it short.

While my personal story of watching Wade is shorter than some people’s and longer than others’, it is special to me and always will be. Regardless of where the memories begin, I think it’s safe to say that from the time one’s story of watching Wade began, there was a love of his unique game and what he means to Miami.

So, this is it.

2018-19 will be the final season of this sixteen-year journey.

In the words of Wade: “Let’s enjoy it. Let’s have some joy through this last season. Let’s push this young team over the hump. And let’s write our own story to the end of this career, together.”

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Let’s make this memorable