Dwyane Wade has resigned, for the last time.
The most important player in Miami Heat history, a three-time champion, 12-time All-Star, Wade shared in a ten minute Youtube message he will return for a 16th and potentially final season with the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2003.
The “Sweet 16” tour staring Wade will be bittersweet. The nostalgic feeling is not lost when you take the time to view the message. It begins silently, Wade appears out of the dark, stepping into a spotlight in a black t-shirt that reads in yellow lettering “#SPOTLIGHTON.”
“I’m here to tell you, it goes by fast,” Wade said when opening about veteran players sharing advice on playing in the NBA.
The Heat offered Wade the $2.4 million veteran’s minimum, which he accepted.
There were reports; Wade considered retiring until a meeting with head coach Erik Spoelstra leading him to return.
“What I feel is it’s right to ask you guys to join me for one last dance. One last season. This is it,” Wade said. “I have, and I’m happy about that. And I’m going to give one last season everything I have left. Let’s enjoy it.”
The Heat needed Wade more than he needed to return for 2.4 million dollars. The team was $4 million over the NBA’s $123 million luxury tax before Wade’s signing. Tentatively, it would cost the Heat about 3.8 million for this coming season.
“We are very delighted that Dwyane decided to return,” Heat President Pat Riley said.
Wade will begin his potential final season 31st on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 22,082 points and 50th on the NBA’s all-time assist list with 5,400. He also has the second most blocks by a guard in NBA history (847), behind only Michael Jordan’s 893.
“This is the hardest decision, I have ever had to make,” Wade said. “I asked myself why, why not? I have heard everything from my family to my fans around the world to what I should and shouldn’t do. I’ve done things the way I feel is right for me and my family.”
Here is a taste of the soap opera, Wade left the Heat in the summer of 2016 and played a season in Chicago before he bought out and played half a season in Cleveland. Wade returned his talents to Miami before the trade deadline.
Before Wade left the question from so many around me, is it even possible? Yes. The moment it was announced from a source who texted me he was returning, I wondered is it even possible? Yes.
When I would view Wade in a Chicago Bulls uniform the original team he signed with, then the Cleveland Cavaliers who he was traded from for a conditional second-round draft pick as the Cavaliers dismantled the team, all I said to myself was what are you doing?
Yes, he was born in Chicago, which is a fantastic city by the way however he never looked joyous. Cleveland was a bad idea the moment he even had a sit-down interview in the preseason previewing the start of the season.
A contract dispute in which both sides looked terrible was the reason for his departure. It is the past now. Now, Wade is not Flash instead he is just a 36-year-old basketball superstar who has a hall of fame future.
“As I stand in front of this camera today, with nobody in this room, I am talking to my fans: Along this journey, to the people who supported me before the world know me, thank you,” Wade said. “I also want to thank my fans along this journey.”
In 21 games played for the Heat last season, Wade averaged 12 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists and shot 40.9 percent from the field, considerably below his 48.3 career average. He was not flashy and no longer “Flash.” If you are purchasing tickets to see him in action this season to score points at a premium think again, instead pay to dance with Wade one last time.
“Season 16, we call it sweet 16, it’s coming to the arena real soon. I have given this game everything I have had, “ Wade said. When I walk away I am still going to love it; I’m still going to want to play it. I am still going to miss the playoff moments; I am still going to miss the crowd cheering my name, I am still going 20,000 booing for me.”
There will not be booing at all this season; it will not be bitter at all. Instead, it will only be sweet.
In closing, Wade turned his back and walked back into darkness. No credits were needed.