Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade was one of the most beloved players among his peers throughout his flashy run in South Beach. Teammates adored him and opponents respected him as evidenced by the standing ovations he received during his whirlwind retirement tour. D-Wade was Miami and Miami was D-Wade.
Wade retired after the 2018-19 season and played his final NBA game for the Heat on April 10, 2019. The 13-time All-Star scored 25 points in 36 minutes in what turned out to be an amazingly perfect ending. Wade will be eligible for the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2023, a first-ballot lock after averaging 22 points over a brilliant 16-year career. While his scoring numbers aren’t quite Jordanesque, no one ever questioned his toughness.
According to three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner Jamal Crawford, Wade ranks right up there with Hall of Famers Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant in terms of the toughest player he ever guarded. Crawford name-dropped “Kobe, AI, D Wade for me” when asked about it on social media. The two players met 33 times over the years, with Wade owning a 20-13 advantage in head-to-head competition.
Crawford and Wade exchanged jerseys during an emotional scene after the Heat superstar played his final game in Phoenix on Dec. 7, 2018. Crawford was a member of the Suns at the time and talked about what Wade meant to him after the game. The 40-year-old scored a career-high 52 points versus Wade and Miami in 2007.
“I told him, he’s one of the best players I ever played against. I tell kids and my kids all the time, it’s Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Dwyane Wade,” Crawford told reporters in 2018. “I told him I had a lot of sleepless nights, the night before games, like how am I going to prepare, my career high was against him actually … and it happened because I was so mentally locked in.”
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Wade’s Personal ‘Toughest’ Cover List
Not surprisingly, Bryant surfaced on Wade’s personal list of toughest covers but Iverson and Crawford were missing. The 2006 Finals MVP listed Bryant, Baron Davis, and Richard Hamilton when asked during a recent question-and-answer session on Twitter.
Wade has also mentioned guys like Derrick Rose, Arron Afflalo, Chris Paul as his most challenging handles over the years. One thing remains static: Bryant is always at the top of the list. Wade and Bryant were teammates on the 2008 Olympics “Redeem Team” that struck gold. Both men valued defense above offense.
“He knew we are two dogs on both ends, and defensively we are going to be dogs,” Wade said in December, via NBC Sports Seattle. “To be able to play with a guy who had everything offensively, who could have just demanded we give him the ball every time down, was worried about defense in the Olympics. Come on, bro, what am I going to do but follow suit.”
Tyler Herro Matches Rare Heat Accomplishment
Tyler Herro made history last week when he became only the second Heat guard in franchise history to post at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a game. The last guy to do it? D-Wade, of course. The 6-foot-5 guard accomplished the feat on Dec. 30 after scoring 21 points and grabbing 15 boards. Herro is averaging 15.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game this season for Miami.