Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki, two of the most celebrated players of their generation, finally called it quits at the end of last season, closing the book on a pair of legendary careers that dovetailed with one another on more than one occasion. By their own accounts, they are thoroughly enjoying retirement, Dirk perhaps more hedonistically than Wade.
Wade has had time to focus his efforts more on one of his burgeoning passions, which is acting as mentor to up-and-coming players. The former Finals MVP recently held his second annual summer basketball camp for young NBA stars, called “The Invitational,” which this time around featured De’Aaron Fox, Coby White, and Devin Booker, just to name a few.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Wade addressed the notion that his camp could be seen as a covert way to recruit young players to Miami, and in the process of dumping ice water on that suggestion, he went on to claim that he never engaged in player recruitment efforts during his playing days.
“I’ve never had to pitch a guy on Miami. I didn’t have to pitch Shaq, he came on his own. I didn’t have to pitch LeBron and Chris, it was more so about what we could do together, not necessarily where it was going to be at. If somebody reaches out to me, and asks me what I think, then I give them my spiel. But I’ve never had to pitch a guy on Miami. I think it’s just social media talk. It’s something for someone to write. It’s funny to me.”
Regardless of his level of involvement in those scenarios, Wade was at the center of two of the biggest free agent coups in modern memory, the result of which was three Heat championships.
On the other hand, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to know that team president Pat Riley was the one pulling the strings behind the scenes to bring all of this to fruition. Wade’s gravitas certainly helped, though, and it would be perfectly understandable to be a little squirmy about your young stars spending so much time down in sunny Miami over the summer.