Home is not a place. It is a feeling.
The feeling Dwyane Wade had playing his last home game of the season at AmericanAirlines Arena can not be typed into words.
The feeling from the fans in attendance; love with a sprinkle of thank you.
Former President Barack Obama sent a video, Chris Bosh was in attendance, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen were in the building all to celebrate Wade’s final home game before retiring, he went out a winner.
Wade scored 30 points in the game dedicated to him, and the Heat sent him off a winner by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 122-99 on Tuesday night.
The game was overshadowed even though it was a win; the Heat were eliminated from playoff contention. The playoffs were not meant to be for Wade’s last dance.
“Shocked and it was like I got kicked in the gut,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on hearing about their playoff elimination in the third quarter. “It was still a beautiful night what a great environment, Dwyane and the fans were able to check every box off of emotion; it will be one we will all remember.”
The Heat was aware that the Memphis Grizzlies had a big lead against the Detroit Pistons, a must-win for the Grizzlies to keep Miami alive in the playoff race, but the Pistons rallied. Bam Adebayo scored 19, Justise Winslow scored 16, and Hassan Whiteside added 15 for the Heat.
Wade missed seven games in mid-November due to the birth of his daughter Kaavia’s birth who was born via surrogate. Both attended the postgame news conference in matching red outfits as Wade carried her in his arms then placed in his lap as he answered questions.
“Tonight I almost lost it a few times,” Wade said. “The video Zaire did with the same thing I did in the converse commercial years ago, that almost got me. I have a game to play. I have been so lucky to be able to focus on what I need to focus on that moment and block everything else out.”
Wade’s career will end Wednesday in Brooklyn when Miami plays its regular-season finale on back to back. Brooklyn is still considered NYC, consider a fantastic amount of fans only to see the legend play his last game.
It scary fashion, Wade almost would not have made the trip to Brooklyn. Wade jumped up onto the courtside table in the process, he slipped and fell, but in Wade fashion, he was able to get back up calm and relaxed to express his love to the fans in attendance. When able to stand tall, he shouted, “I love you,” unconditionally.
“It was three leaps, I just wanted to keep it at number three,” Wade humorously said. “My last words, the moment I jumped on the scorers’ table I think 2009, that was really the moment it became Wade county, it became my house. That’s the way I wanted to end it. I ended it in D-Wade fashion falling, slipping but getting right back up.”
Bam Adebayo scored 19, Justise Winslow scored 16, and Hassan Whiteside added 15 for the Heat. Wade learned of the Heat being eliminated from the playoff in the third quarter. The mindset from there was to finish the game with Udonis Haslem joining him on the court in front of the home crowd one last time.
“In the third, coach told me, it was about getting me and UD on the court,” Wade said. “At that moment, I just wanted to enjoy it a little more, just a little longer. I love playing out there; I love playing on that court; I love wearing that jersey. It was a great feeling. It was great to end that last one with my brother; I would not want it any other way.”
Haslem finished with seven points in ten minutes of play.
Greg Monroe scored 18 points, and Ben Simmons scored 16 for Philadelphia, which entered Tuesday already locked into the No. Three seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs and rested Joel Embiid and J.J. Redick. Simmons played only 21 minutes, Tobias Harris shot 3 for 16 in 20 minutes, and Jimmy Butler scored only four points in 16 minutes.
Butler was the beneficiary of Wade’s final postgame jersey exchange with a foe.
“Special, to see my brother get as much love as he deserves,” Butler said. “He’s one of the greatest to play this game, and I’m so happy he gets to go out on his terms.”
Wade played in 575 games in a Heat uniform at home. Miami won 401 of them, and he scored 13,323 points in those contests.
Home is not a place. It is a feeling. When you can keep that high and joyous feeling for a lifetime, you can take it with you where ever you may go when you leave home. Wade is expected to move to Los Angeles, California however Wade-County is in Miami, home.
The beat goes on.
76ers play host to Chicago on Wednesday, expect players to continue to rest before the playoffs. The Heat will take their talents to Brooklyn for Wade’s last game and close out the season.