MIAMI – Dwyane Wade's last game at American Airlines Arena – and possibly the last game in his Hall of Fame career – started with a bang.
Miami Heat, with whom Wade has spent 14 plus seasons of the 16 he has been in the league, honored Wade with a pregame ceremony complete with a video tribute of his career, told by a combination of family and significant numbers from his legendary career.
"Man, you have to make me cry before this game," Wade said to the audience laughing after the video played. "Man, I love you."
"I am grateful for this moment. I am grateful for this whole season."
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Wade, standing next to his eldest son, Zaire, then thanked each of his teammates by the name of this season, including those who were later cut or traded.
"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 having my back this year.
" I have some brothers who will always be my brothers. I love you. "
The Tribute video began with Spoelstra, who has been Wade's head coach for most of the last decade and whose first season as a full-time NBA assistant coincided with Wade's rookie season. then passed on to Shaquille O & # 39; Neal, who told Wade's first career covering the championship they won together in 2006.
Then, it switched to the second act, told by LeBron James and covers both "Big" Three "era here, who saw Heat win two titles and reach four NBA finals in four years, and he leaves to go to the Chicago Bulls in the summer of 2015.
"Pressure as it could have prevented you," James said of the challenges facing these heat layers ", but instead you ravaged you and fortified you as a player, a man and a leader.
"So you reached the top of the mountain twice more. Different cases, same conclusion.
"Your second act saw your arrivals as one of the most respected athletes on Earth and depart your home that got you there."
The final act was then told by three people: Wade's wife, actress Gabrielle Union; Udonis Haslem, his longtime teammate; and Pat Riley, who either trained or ran the team to Wade's entire career.
"We cheered, we cried, we chanted your name all over the city and up to the beams," Union said. "It was more than a reunion, it was a revival of the part you meant to play – from flash to paternity."
"And now you take the stage one last time we greet you," said Haslem, "as the player who fell seven times and got up eight."
"Because, whatever stories are in front," said Riley, "knowing that this city will always be proud to repeat your name across the back." "Because this is and forever will be, Wade County . "
The video then cut to Zaire Wade, who was shown to enter the American Airlines Arena all by himself – first mimicking some of his father's moves from pull-up mid-range jumper to a fake pump – before slowly going up The bowl's steps to a microphone where he sat and introduced his father.
When the lights came up, Zaire stood in the center, where his father then went to him and met him before he accepted the audience.
Wade's eyes Rarely left Jumbotron monitors, except briefly scanning the crowd a couple of times. He continued to move, but his eyes remained locked over while the video was playing.
Shortly afterwards, Wades spoke to The audience then provided a complete introduction to the long distance arige hot public address announces Michael Baiamonte as The last player announced in the starting line.
Warm coach Erik Spoelstra had refused to say whether Wade would start before the match, but it would have been shocking if he had not made his first start this season in what might be his last game in this building.
After spending a moment with Union and their young daughter at the center court and following a pregame video told by all his teammates, Wade took a shot around the court and urged the spectators to come to his feet.
And then on the first player in the game he curled into the pitch for a wide open dunk, much to the delight of hometown fans.
Wade scored eight first quarter points to help heat jump to an early 34-20 le ad. Along the way, Heat continued to pay tribute to Wade throughout the game by playing small tribute videos during each timeout.
Barack Obama congratulates Dwyane Wade on a legendary career and wants him a happy retirement.
The first was a colleague Chicagoan, former President Barack Obama, who praised Wade as a civic wind town for his success.
"When you were knocked down again, you showed us how to get it back up," Obama said. "You showed Chicago spirit and you made us proud."
The next timeout showed Wade's second son, Zion, who had a message to his father.
"Now, after all the sweet stuff, you don't lose your last home game," he said, much to the home crowd's delight.
During the timeout after the first quarter also played a John Legend song that tells highlights of Wade's childhood.