Saturday night, Dwyane Wade’s long-running legacy in Miami-Dade Wade County was sealed as the retired star’s No. 3 Miami Heat jersey was officially hung in the rafters in the American Airlines Arena. It marked a symbolic and emotional moment for who is arguably South Florida’s most prominent and memorable athlete. Per ESPN, as Wade walked out onto the court, the three-time NBA Champion, All-Star, Finals MVP, and future Hall of Famer turned to his son Zaire and told him, “This is it. I’m getting out of your way now.”
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In his jersey retirement speech, D Wade was sure to thank the likes of Pat Riley, the late Henry Thomas, and Erik Spoelstra, and naturally took the time to dedicate a portion of his remarks to Kobe Bryant.
“Kobe said the most important thing is to try to inspire others so they can be great in whatever they try to do,” Wade expressed. “I hope I inspired you. Thank you for making me a part of your legacy. Please know you’re a huge part of mine.”
He would later have a chance to expound on these remarks, further elaborating on Kobe’s legacy following the ceremony.
“The impact that the passing of Kobe has done on myself and so many others is it’s made us sit down and stop,” he added. “Life goes so fast. We move at a rapid pace. It’s made me enjoy the moment more. It’s made me want to create more memories. It definitely put a lot of things in perspective. As athletes, we’re looked at as superheroes. We looked at Kobe as a superhero.”
Wade continued, “That moment has touched all of us and will continue to. Kobe was leading the way — he retired and showed us in his next act after retirement that you can master that as well. He mastered basketball, he mastered being an amazing father, he mastered being a husband, he mastered being a creator. He was showing us the way and now we don’t have that. So I do have a responsibility to be that guy and show the way for the next generation.”
The three-day celebration of Dwyane Wade’s jersey retirement will come to an end Sunday night with the airing of the D. Wade: Life Unexpected documentary on ESPN. Per Wade, it will mark the end of “basketball Dwyane Wade.”