From the Basement: An ode to sports idols, Dywane Wade

Justin Marcano, Senior Staff Writer

“From Robbins, Illinois, 6-foot-4-inch guard Dwyane Wade”

We were all children once. We have all imagined ourselves as our greatest heroes. Whether it be on the playground or in front of our houses or on the court, our heroes shape us. My hero — Miami’s hero — is Dwyane Wade.

In the 2003 draft, the Miami Heat — an organization devoid of any prominent success in its history until this point — took a chance on a small guard from Marquette University. His name was Dwyane — no, not Dwayne. He held up a white Heat jersey with his number and his name and carried himself with a smile that outshined the cameras.

Miami soon grew to love him, and he loved Miami back. He was not a local, but that did not matter because most of us were not. Though he was not a native son, he defined so much of what Miami is: stylish and passionate, with a flare for the dramatic.

He would not receive the national attention he so rightly deserved, but to him and to the city he played in, it did not matter. He was Miami to the country, and we loved him for it.

Wade showed Miami three championships in his tenure. According to ESPN, Wade — not Michael Jordan — holds the title for the greatest NBA Finals performance of all time for his tenacious effort in 2006.

“This Is My House”

Our sports heroes define our memories and provide a North Star to guide us. In my own experience, I know this to be true. In reflection now, the place where I spent the most of my time growing up was the basketball court. The fondest memories I have are of my father and I playing game after game until the sun would set. In those games, I did not play as myself. I played as Wade. I played as the man called “Flash,” darting past my father, laying up the ball and crashing into the concrete with reckless abandon, as Wade would.

In time, however, I came to realize that as much as he influenced my court play, it was the way he carried himself as a person that truly impacted me and an entire generation of kids in South Florida. Just as much as he did on the court, Wade impacted this community through his immense social work — something that can be clearly seen in the emotional Budweiser advertisement released recently.

It is an understatement to say that, when Wade left for Chicago to play as a Bull, the energy of the city died. Miami — a city that has held a 20-year grudge with the Marlins — was subdued by the loss of its greatest athlete and greatest son. Luckily, that was not a permanent exileship.

After a year in the “Windy City,” followed by a brief stint in Cleveland, the Heat’s all-time leader in every major statistical category was back home where he belonged.

“Wade County, I Love You”

The two final golden years of Wade in a Heat uniform has been more than any fan could ever hope to ask for. The time flew by, and, soon, time ran out. Wade had his final dance with Miami, and I know that I never wanted it to end, but, as the adage goes, all good things must.

Wade walked into the stadium on Biscayne for the last time on Tuesday night. Teary-eyed moment after teary-eyed moment played on the screen as Wade capped off his career in Miami with 30 points at home and a fifth career triple-double away in Brooklyn. A city celebrated a hero who’s legacy reaches far past the confines of the American Airlines Arena, a hero who has defined an era and a generation in Miami, an era that is now over.

Our heroes give us release and inspiration to handle the darker moments that come upon us in life. We tie ourselves to them. They make us smile, they make us cry, they break our hearts and they build us back up again.

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