10 People who turned their back on the Miami Heat

Here are players, a coach, an analyst, and a general manager who we believe "turned their backs" on the Miami Heat organization -- some more than others.
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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3. Dwyane Wade

Dwayne Wade
Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
  • ​​Years played with the Heat (2003-2016)
  • Significance of his contribution: He's responsible for everything that has happened since 2003.

Dwyane Wade was drafted fifth overall by the Miami Heat in 2003, and he was instrumental in the Miami Heat's success. With only one losing season since his arrival, the Heat consistently performed well with him as their leader.

Despite facing challenges, including injuries, Wade's leadership and skill were crucial in guiding the Heat to victory. His contributions have been recognized as some of the greatest in NBA Finals history. Wade undoubtedly transformed Miami into a basketball town.

Excluding the disappointing 2007-08 season, Wade's career has been incredibly successful, rivaling that of Tim Duncan, especially in terms of his team's achievements. The following season, with the help of Shaquille O'Neal, they even reached the Conference Finals. Unfortunately, Wade's injury in game five of the series hindered their chances, resulting in a loss in seven games. However, it was in 2006 that Wade truly made his mark on the NBA.

Throughout the series, Wade averaged an impressive 35 points per game, earning him the title of the greatest performance in NBA Finals history. His leadership and determination were evident as he orchestrated one of the most incredible comebacks in NBA Finals history, overturning a 3-0 deficit to secure a 4-2 victory. 

Following this triumph, the team experienced a period of mediocrity, but Wade's efforts kept them afloat. He led a team with Michael Beasley and Jermaine O'Neal as the secondary scoring options to two consecutive playoff appearances. Finally, Wade's patience paid off when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined the team, forming a formidable roster.

Despite falling just two games short of securing a second NBA championship title for the franchise, Wade's legacy in Miami remains strong. He won three NBA championships, was a 13-time NBA All-Star, an 8-time member of the All-NBA Team, and a 3-time member of the All-Defensive Team.

However, it is worth noting that after a period of intense negotiations, the former Marquette star decided to join his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls in 2016 for a lucrative two-year contract worth an estimated $47 million. While it was a shock, this marked a new chapter in Wade’s career.

In April 2021, the Utah Jazz welcomed a new owner in the form of the three-time NBA champion. Although Wade did not disclose any details about his discussions with Heat ownership regarding a financial stake in the franchise which he dedicated over 14 seasons of his career, he emphasized the importance of his close bond with team owner Ryan Smith and their shared vision for the business partnership, which ultimately led to his acquisition of a stake in Jazz ownership.

Despite his contributions elsewhere, Wade’s impact and legacy on Heat culture and the city of Miami will always be remembered.