If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last 13 years from watching the Miami Heat, it’s that you can never count out Dwyane Wade.
This past Saturday, on a court with the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers which feature All-Stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, it was the savvy Wade who once again stole the show.
During the most significant part of the game, Wade dribbled past Iman Shumpert on a fast break and shot a floater over a trailing J.R. Smith that dropped straight in the bucket and with that shot Wade became the only player in the history of the franchise to score 20,000 points. His place in history was further cemented because after that shot Wade became only the 41st player in NBA history to reach that plateau.
— NBA (@NBA) March 20, 2016
To a team player like Wade getting these individual accolades will never trump overall team success. Not only has Wade been one of the best players in NBA history to play the game, he’s also one of the greatest winners in the sport. As the leader of a franchise and the cornerstone of the Heat, Wade’s already won three championship rings in his career so we know that his agenda as a player was to become a great champion. However, for as much as he’s sacrificed in his career, this accomplishment is something that should be celebrated for a long time. This is an accomplishment that we should let Wade be a little selfish about.
“I always thought, I don’t know why, that 20,000 just seemed good. When you’re in the NBA and they say you scored 20,000 points or whatever, that’s a small group and I wanted to be in that category. Obviously, because of what I’ve chosen to do, giving up some of those opportunities, missing a lot of games, my style of play, to reach that point for me is big.”
– Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade
What’s also big about reaching the feat that Wade did is the fact he did it in his own unique way. Out of all the players who reached 20,000, Wade was the 21st quickest who got to the feat. He also would’ve got there a lot sooner had he not been so willing to give up his individual shine for team success but that’s not who he is. Additionally, what makes this accolade special is that Wade reached the milestone without the use of a consistent three pointer. Wade as a shooting guard was never an elite shooter, but nevertheless, he still managed to get points when his team needed him.
“In a sense, I’m happy people said those things. I’m still not Steph Curry or Ray Allen or Joe Johnson, but I always said I’m a shot maker. I’m not a shooter. My body makeup and mechanics is not like that. I’m a shot maker and that’s what I’ve been my whole life, someone who can make shots, score the basketball and find a way.”
– Dwyane Wade
What’s big about Wade’s accomplishment is the fact that there are and there will be a number of future NBA players from South Florida who have molded their game after watching Wade play nightly. Players like Brandon Knight, of the Phoenix Suns considers Wade as one of the players he used to look up to growing up in South Florida. Like Knight, there will be many others after him that will follow.
“Somebody’s going to pass me one day, but it’s kind of cool to see my name – while I’m still playing – among the 50 greatest players. They gave us all something to shoot for.”
– Dwyane Wade
Miami has a living legend on their roster and the second that he retires, there will be yet another jersey hanging in the rafters and it’ll be wearing a No. 3 across the chest.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey