MIAMI, Dwyane Wade's last game at the American Airlines Arena, and possibly the last game of his career in the Hall of Fame, began with an explosion.
The Miami Heat, with whom Wade has spent more than 14 seasons out of the 16 that have been in the league, honored Wade with a pregame ceremony with a tribute video to his career that was narrated by a combination of relatives and significant figures. of his legendary career.
"Man, you're going to make me cry before this game," Wade told the crowd with a laugh after the video was played. "Man, I love you guys.
"I'm grateful for this moment, I'm grateful for the whole season."
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Wade, who was standing next to his eldest son, Zaire, thanked each of his teammates this season, including those that had since been trimmed or exchanged.
"I thank you for dancing with me this year," Wade said. "I thank you for your patience this year, I thank you for all your love and for your support this year.
"I have some brothers who will always be my brothers, I love you guys."
The tribute video began with Spoelstra, who has been Wade's head coach for most of the past decade and whose first season as a full-time badistant to the NBA coincided with Wade's rookie season. He then moved on to Shaquille O'Neal, who narrated the first act of Wade's career, covering the championship they won together in 2006.
From there, he moved on to the second act, narrated by LeBron James and encompbading both the era of the "Big Three" here, which saw the Heat win two titles and reach four NBA Finals in four years, as well as him to Go to the Chicago Bulls in the summer of 2015.
"Such pressure could have hampered you," James said of the challenges the Heat teams faced, "but instead it strengthened you, strengthening you as a player, a man and a leader.
"Then you got to the top of the mountain twice more." Different case, same conclusion.
"Your second act saw your arrivals as one of the most respected athletes on Earth, and the departure of your home that took you there."
The final act, then, was narrated by three people: Wade's wife, the actress Gabrielle Union; Udonis Haslem, his former teammate; and Pat Riley, who directed or directed the team throughout Wade's career.
"We celebrate, we cry, we sing your name throughout the city and even the beams," Union said. "It was more than a meeting, it was a resurgence of the part you wanted to interpret, from flash to fatherhood."
"And now, you go on stage one last time, we salute you," Haslem said, "like the player who fell seven times and got eight."
"Because, regardless of the stories that lie ahead," Riley said, "he knows that this city will always be proud to represent his name on his back.
"Because this is, and always will be, Wade County."
Then, the video was directed to Zaire Wade, who was seen entering the American Airlines Arena on his own, first imitating some of his father's movements, from the medium-shot jumper to a fake pumping, before slowly climbing the steps . From the bowl to a microphone, where he sat and introduced his father.
When the lights came on, Zaire was standing in the central courtyard, where his father approached him and greeted him before addressing the crowd.
Throughout the video, Wade's eyes rarely left the jumbotron screens above him, apart from briefly scanning the crowd a couple of times. He kept moving to stretch, but his eyes remained fixed on him as the video played.
Shortly after, after Wade's speech to the crowd, he received a full introduction from the announcer of the Heat's public address, Michael Baiamonte, as announced by the final player in the starting lineup.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra declined to say whether Wade would start before the game, but it would have been shocking if he had not made his first start this season in what could be his last game in this building.
After spending a moment with Union and his little daughter on the center court, and after a pregame video narrated by all his teammates, Wade circled the court and implored the crowd to stand up. .
And then, on the first play of the game, he curled up in the lane for an open dunk, much to the delight of hometown fans.
Wade scored eight points in the first quarter to help the Heat reach an early lead of 34-20. And, along the way, the Heat continued to pay tribute to Wade throughout the game by playing small tribute videos during each break.
Barack Obama congratulates Dwyane Wade for a legendary career and wishes him a happy retirement.
The first was from a fellow Chicagoan, former President Barack Obama, who praised Wade as a native Windy City partner for his success.
"Every time they knocked you down, you showed us how to get up," Obama said. "You showed the spirit of Chicago, and you made us feel proud."
The next waiting time introduced Wade's other son, Zion, who had a message for his father.
"Now, after all those sweet things, do not miss your last game at home," he said, much to the delight of the crowd.
During the time that elapsed after the first trimester, a song by John Legend was also heard, which narrates highlights of Wade's childhood.