The Miami Heat honored legendary guard Dwyane Wade on Saturday night, retiring his No. 3 jersey and lifting it to the rafters of AmericanAirlines Arena.
Joined by his family at halftime of the Heat's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the 38-year-old Wade thanked everyone from his parents to childhood coaches to his teammates to team president Pat Riley.
"Dwyane Wade really never ever wanted to be considered anything else other than the best," Riley said at the start of the lengthy halftime ceremony. "He wanted to be unique. He wanted to separate himself from the pack. He did that. And what he did more than anything else in this city and for this franchise and for all of his loyal fans -- and for all of you kids out there who one day aspire to be who he is and who he became -- is he has left footprints for others to follow."
Wade's jersey retirement ceremony was part of three days of festivities in Miami, called "L3GACY Celebration," to mark his career with the Heat, who made the Marquette product the No. 5 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He is the team's all-time leader in several categories, including points, assists, steals, games played and minutes played.
He averaged 22.0 points per game in his career, which spanned 1,054 games -- 948 of them in Miami and the others in brief stops with the Cavaliers and his hometown Chicago Bulls. A 13-time All-Star, he retired as a member of the Heat following the 2018-19 season.
On Saturday night, Wade's framed jersey sat on the court, as did the three Larry O'Brien NBA Championship trophies won by Wade and his teammates. He watched as video tributes played, and as he took the court, he started his words with a message to his son, Zaire, who plays high school basketball in Southern California with LeBron James' son, Bronny.
"This is it. I'm getting out of your way now," he told Zaire.
And he concluded his remarks with a tribute to Kobe Bryant, who was killed with his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
"Kobe said the most important thing is to try to inspire others so they can be great in whatever they try to do," Wade told the capacity crowd. "I hope I inspired you. Thank you for making me a part of your legacy. Please know you're a huge part of mine."
--Field Level Media