MANILA, Philippines – In a flash, for The Flash.
The Miami Heat wasted no time honoring the legendary Dwyane Wade, as his No. 3 jersey was retired to the rafters in Miami on Saturday, February 22 (Sunday, February 23, Philippine time).
Just one year into the 13-time All-Star’s retirement from basketball, the Heat organization pulled out all the stops in their tribute to the man responsible for all 3 franchise championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013.
Fittingly for No. 3, the city of Miami stretched their celebration to 3 days, aptly named the “L3gacy Celebration,” highlighted by the main jersey retirement program during halftime of the Heat’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This included Miami mayor Francis Suarez giving Wade the “keys to the city” and declaring February 22 as “Dwyane Wade Day.”
The current Heat team also pulled out all the stops themselves, as they coincidentally recorded the highest-scoring half in franchise history with an 82-52 blitz in the first two quarters against the Cavs despite not having Jimmy Butler for the night.
Seven players scored in double-digits as Miami eventually coasted to a 124-105 blowout win to improve to 36-20 for the season.
Of course, a Wade jersey retirement ceremony won’t be complete without his former teammates giving him due props, from fellow 2006 champion Shaquille O’Neal, to his two-peat partner-in-crime LeBron James and even his “Banana Boat Buddies” Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul.
The man of the hour then gave an emotional 20-minute speech, thanking everyone from his family to his coaches and his former teammates like James, O’Neal and Udonis Haslem
Before ending his speech, Wade also made sure to to honor another great shooting guard unfortunately gone too soon, the iconic Kobe Bryant.
"In the words of one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball, my friend, the late Kobe Bryant – ‘the most important thing is to try and inspire others so they can be great at whatever they want to do.' I hope I have inspired you,” the future Hall of Famer said to thunderous applause at the American Airlines Arena.
After Sunday, jersey No. 3 can no longer be worn by any other man in Miami, and for good reason. That honor is now solely reserved for undoubtedly the greatest Heat player of all time. – Rappler.com