OAKLAND – One by one, the Warriors’ stars lined up so they could offer their respect to an active living NBA legend.
Usually, the Warriors command such a presence. Those circumstances changed, though, at the end of the Warriors’ 120-118 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday. That marked Dwyane Wade’s last game at Oracle Arena of his 16-year NBA career. So, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins and Shaun Livingston all hugged Wade at separate times and offered encouraging words.
Then, Wade performed his customary post-game jersey swap. He chose Curry for obvious reasons. So as the two held each other’s respective jerseys, Curry wondered aloud if they should delay this ceremony for another year.
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“You have a lot more in the tank,” Curry told Wade. “You got a couple of things going off the court and family and all that, but are you sure you don’t have a couple more years left in there?”
Wade has determined he does not. He finished with 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting, had nine assists and made what Curry called “some pretty influential plays” in 29 minutes off the bench. That hardly compares to his career averages in points (22.1), shooting percentage (48.1 percent) and minutes (25.6) through 16 NBA seasons with Miami (2003-2016), Chicago (2016-17), Cleveland (2017) and Miami again (2017-19). Yet, his nine assists exceeded his career averages (5.5).
That partly explains why Green said that “D-Wade was an inspiration for me.”
The Heat selected Wade fifth overall in the 2003 NBA draft, but the 6-foot-4, 220-pound guard overcame being an undersized shooting guard. He ultimately became the only player along with Michael Jordan and LeBron James in NBA history to record at least 20,000 points, 5,000 assists, 4,000 rebounds, 1,500 steals, 800 blocks and 500 3’s. He also ranks second place in NBA history for guards with most blocks (868), trailing only Jordan (893). Wade also won three NBA championships (2006, 2012, 2013) and a Finals MVP (2006). Green estimated Wade also has made “a million All-Star appearances” (actually 13) and “a million All-NBA teams” (actually two First teams, three Second teams, three Third teams and two All-Defensive Second teams).
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After facing debilitating injuries in 2013-14 (knees), 2014-15 (left hamstring) and 2015-16 (thigh bruise), Wade has since prolonged his career and has stayed productive.
“He’s still out there this year playing well,” Green said. “If you looked at D-Wade three years ago, you would worry if it’s over. He’s battled back from that. It’s good for him to see a guy as good as D-Wade was to close out with the way he’s playing this year. It’s great to see him go out like that. You hate to see a guy like that limp …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports