In a video titled "One Last Dance," the three-time champion, one-time Finals MVP, and 12-time All-Star said, "I feel like it's right to ask you guys to join me for one last dance, for one last season. This is it. I've given this game everything that I have, and I'm happy about that. I'm going to give it for one last season, everything else I have left."
"I feel like my family has put me first for so many years, for good reasons," explained the 36-year-old, who was selected fifth overall in a star-studded 2003 draft class by the Miami Heat. "But I feel like there comes a point in time where we all got to think about someone else, especially the ones around you that have supported you, supported your dream, supported your journey like my family has."
Shortly after his announcement, the internet revealed two types of NBA fans. There were those who immediately typed in "Dwyane Wade Top 10" on YouTube, while trying hard to hold back their man tears. Then there were these clowns:
One doesn't even have to be a Wade or Heat diehard to recognize the greatness of the player known as "Flash," as well as his contributions to the league and the game of basketball. Aside from the honors that have already been mentioned, the rest of Wade's resume speaks for itself—perennial All-NBA Team member and Olympic gold medalist (2008 Redeem Team). Simply put, you have to be a hater to think that he isn't deserving of a farewell tour a la Kobe Bryant.
Some argue that he isn't technically a Heat lifer, especially after one and a half seasons with his hometown team Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. But more would assert that Wade is the most important player to wear a Miami uniform—even more influential than actual loyalty awardees Alonzo Mourning and Udonis Haslem. Before he left, he led the franchise to its first championship and helped win two more. And when he did return, he gave the Philadelphia 76ers quite a scare in the first round of last season's playoffs. Despite being away for a while, Wade is set to retire as the Heat's all-time leader in points (including shots made and taken), games, assists and steals.
If you think about it, the shooting guard was already at a disadvantage in terms of all-time positional rankings as soon as he entered the league. The top spot was unanimous: Michael Jordan wasn't just the best SG, but the greatest ever to play the game. Based on his rings and accomplishments, Kobe Bryant was clear-cut second, which meant that the highest Wade could go was No. 3, before he even stepped foot on an NBA court. What made him remarkable was the way he cemented his place in the Mt. Rushmore of 2-guards like his predecessors. It would take more than matching Wade's long list of achievements and overall impact for someone to unseat him.
The final asterisk that others try to put in his career are his three championships with Miami, particularly the fact that he had superstar teammates—Shaquille O'Neal, then LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Wade was named Finals MVP in 2006, leading his team with a ridiculous 34.7 points—including a couple of 40-point outings—and 2.7 steals in 43.5 minutes per game, which makes the first argument invalid. And while it's true that LeBron was the main man in the Heatles' back-to-back two titles (2012-2013), it doesn't take away from his Banana Boat Brother being the best in playing second fiddle. After all, the King's legacy had its own asterisk before he joined forces with Wade.