In the age of player empowerment, we’ve mostly left behind the days when a superstar spends all or even the bulk of their career with a single franchise. Championship windows have grown so small and the temptation to team up with other stars so great that a given player’s name might be synonymous with multiple franchises.
One of the few remaining vestiges of the previous era called it quits last season, and even though he moved around a bit toward the end of his playing days, Dwyane Wade will always be remembered for his contributions to the Miami Heat. To no surprise, his name and jersey will soon hang from the rafters in American Airlines Arena.
The team will reportedly hold this ceremony on February 22 during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s a fun bit of symmetry for the future Hall of Fame inductee, as Wade briefly played for the Cavs before returning to the Heat for his final season.
However, unlike the Heat’s previous jersey retirements, the team is preparing for a more reserved ceremony at that game, with plans for a celebration of Wade the night before, when the Heat are idle on Feb. 21, after returning from a Feb. 20 game in Atlanta.
Wade’s No. 3 will become the fifth Heat player jersey retired, joining the No. 33 of Alonzo Mourning, No. 10 of Tim Hardaway, No. 32 of Shaquille O’Neal and No. 1 of Chris Bosh.
Wade retired at the end of the last season as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, part of all three of the team’s NBA championships, in 2006, ’12 and ’13.
Chris Bosh’s jersey is already hanging in the rafters, and it’s a foregone conclusion that LeBron James will eventually join them there. It’s hard to imagine LeBron being in attendance for the ceremony, as the Lakers have home games on the 21st and 23rd, but seeing as how he always makes time for his best friend and former teammate, perhaps he’ll make a quick day trip to South Beach.