Dwyane Wade had the support of his wife Gabrielle Union, their daughter Kaavia James, and son Zaire Wade during his jersey retirement ceremony on Saturday at the American Airlines Arena. Wade’s jersey was officially hung in the rafters by Union as she held on to their baby girl.
During the ceremony, Wade paid tribute to his friend and late NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died with his daughter Gianna Bryant in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California last month.
“Kobe said the most important thing is to try to inspire others so they can be great in whatever they choose to do,” Wade said during his speech. “I hope I’ve inspired all of you. Thank you for making me a part of your legacy. Please know you are a huge part of mine. God bless you all. Heat Nation! I love you.”
On Friday, Miami heat kicked off a three-day event in honor of the retired basketball player with a “Flashback L3GACY Celebration” event.
Wade’s former teammate, Lebron James, could not be in attendance at the event, but had this to say: “My brother D-Wade, I just want to say congratulations to you man on getting your jersey retired,” James said in a video. “I mean, am I really sitting here congratulating you on something that we both knew was going to happen when we were sitting at pre-Draft in Chicago? I feel like as soon as the Miami Heat drafted you and said Dwyane Wade out of Marquette that the name and the jersey was going up in the rafters. I think it was inevitable.
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Our children are always watching us. Are you changing the world for the better? Are you showing love & respect to all? Are you centering the needs of the most marginalized among us? I am trying. We are trying. We can all do better. Sending so much love and light and healing to whoever may need it right now. You are never alone. You might be by yourself at the moment, but know that you are never alone.
He continued, “I mean I really should be sitting here wondering like ‘when’s that statue going to go outside American Airlines Arena?’ Which one is it going to be? Is it going to be the Flash dunk that you did in the Finals when you won your first championship? I don’t know, nah, maybe not that one. Is it the one where you stand on top of the scoreboard and you say ‘this my house’? Or maybe it’s the one where you keep pulling yourself up on the rim right there pregame before the game starts… Congratulations brother, I love you.”
Wade played over 14 seasons with the Heat and won three titles. He was also named to 13 All-Star Games during his tenure with the team. Wade is the sixth player in Heat history to have his jersey retired.