Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. (born January 17, 1982), nicknamed Flash or D-Wade, is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat. Awarded 2006 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated, Wade has established himself as one of the most well-known and popular players in the league. He had the top selling jersey in the NBA for nearly two years, as he led the NBA in jersey sales from the 2005 NBA Playoffs, until the midpoint of the 2006–07 season.
After entering the league as the fifth pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Wade was named to the All-Rookie team and the All-Star team the following eight seasons. In his third season, Wade helped lead the Miami Heat to their first NBA Championship in franchise history. He was named the 2006 NBA Finals MVP as he helped lead the Heat to a 4–2 series win over the Dallas Mavericks. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wade led the United States Men's Basketball team, commonly known as the "Redeem Team", in scoring, as they captured gold medal honors in Beijing, China. In the 2008–09 season, Wade led the league in scoring and earned his first NBA scoring title. He was part of Miami's second championship win in the 2012 NBA Finals, when Miami defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Rookie year (2003–04)
Selected 5th overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, Wade quickly emerged as a productive player on a youthful Miami Heat team and averaged 16.2 points on 46.5% shooting with averages of 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Wade is one of only four Marquette University players to be drafted in the first round; his is the highest draft selection in school history. After a 5–15 start, the Heat would gradually improve and finish 42–40 to qualify for the NBA playoffs. He further distinguished himself with outstanding performances in the playoffs, particularly against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals. In the end, however, Wade's successful rookie season was somewhat overshadowed by the success of fellow rookies Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Wade did earn unanimous selection to the 2004 NBA All-Rookie Team, and also finished third in rookie of the year voting (behind James and Anthony). He was ranked in the top five among rookies in several major statistical categories, including second in field goal percentage, second in steals, third in scoring, fourth in assists, and fourth in minutes played. In the playoffs Wade hit a game winning shot in Game 1 of the Heat's first round series against the New Orleans Hornets. The Heat won the series 4–3 and advanced to the second round to face the top-seeded and best record team in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers, in a very entertaining series that almost pushed the 61-win Pacers to the edge, though Miami would eventually lose the series in six games. He became the fourth rookie since the shot clock era began to lead his team in scoring and assist average in the postseason.
Breakthrough year (2004–05)
Before the 2004–05 season Shaquille O'Neal was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Heat. The following season, Miami improved by 17 games, from a 42–40 record in the 2003–04 season to an Eastern Conference-best 59–23 record in the 2004–05 season. The league's coaches selected Wade to be a reserve in the 2005 All-Star Game. He scored 14 points in 24 minutes of play.
In the first round of the 2005 NBA Playoffs, Wade averaged 26.3 points, 8.8 assists, and 6.0 rebounds while maintaining a 50% field-goal percentage as the Heat swept the New Jersey Nets. Wade continued his high level of play in the second round by averaging 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists per game as the Heat swept the Washington Wizards. The Heat's playoff run was stopped by the Detroit Pistons, the previous season's champions, in 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Wade scored 42 and 36 points in Games 2 and 3 respectively despite playing with sinusitis, the flu, and a knee strain. He also suffered a strained rib muscle in Game 5 of the Conference Finals that prevented him from playing in the series' sixth game and limited him in the seventh. The Heat lost the series in the seventh game despite leading three games to two after the fifth game and holding a lead with three minutes remaining in Game 7.
NBA Champion and Finals MVP (2005–06)
Wade at the free throw line
By the 2005–06 season Wade had developed into one of the most prominent players in the NBA and was elected to his second All-Star Game. In the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, Wade made the game winning put-back off of the Philadelphia 76ers' Allen Iverson's missed shot, to lead the East to a 122–120 victory over the West. He scored 20 points on 9/11 field goals in 30 minutes of play. He finished the 2005–06 regular season averaging 27.2 points, 6.7 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.95 steals per game.
Against the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs, Wade shook off a few injuries that scared Heat fans, including a severely bruised hip in Game 5. Returning late in the half, Wade resurrected his team by scoring 15 of his 28 points while suffering from intense pain, leading the Heat to the much-needed 3–2 series lead. After this, Wade successfully led his team to the 2006 NBA Finals, despite suffering from flu-like symptoms in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons. He put up a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists in that game, including an 8-point flurry to close out the third quarter that put the game out of reach.
In his first trip to the NBA Finals, in which Miami faced off against the Dallas Mavericks, Wade had some especially memorable moments. His performance in games three, four, and five, in which he scored 42, 36, and 43 points, respectively, helped bring the Heat back from a 0–2 deficit to lead the series at 3 games to 2. In Game 3 Wade tied his career playoff high with 42 points and grabbed a career high 13 rebounds. 15 of his 42 points came in the fourth quarter, in which the Heat erased a 13 point deficit over the final 6:29 with a 22–7 run which included a go-ahead jumper by NBA veteran Gary Payton that sealed the win. The Heat went on to win Game 6 behind Wade's 36 points, taking the series 4–2, and Wade was presented with the Finals MVP trophy. He became the fifth youngest player in NBA history to capture NBA Finals MVP honors and recorded the third highest scoring average by a player in his first NBA Finals with 34.7 points per game. His 33.8 PER in the NBA finals was ranked by ESPN's John Hollinger as the greatest Finals performance since the NBA-ABA merger.
Injuries and missing playoffs (2006–08)
In the 2006–07 season, Wade missed a total of 31 games due to injury. He was elected to his third straight All-Star Game and received All-NBA honors. He became the first guard to earn All-NBA honors after missing at least 31 games in a season since Pete Maravich of the Utah Jazz earned Second Team honors during the 1977–78 season. Despite Wade's play, the Heat struggled early in the season with injuries and were 20–25 on February 1, 2007. But with Shaquille O'Neal healthy and Pat Riley returning to the bench after undergoing hip and knee surgeries, the Heat seemed poised to surge into the second half of the season. However, during a game against the Houston Rockets on February 21, 2007, while attempting to steal the ball from Shane Battier, Wade dislocated his left shoulder and was assisted off the court in a wheelchair. After the injury he was left with the decision to either rehabilitate the shoulder or undergo season-ending surgery. Wade later announced that he would put off the surgery and rehabilitate his shoulder with the intention of rejoining the team in time for the playoffs. After missing 23 games to recover from the injury, Wade returned to the active roster in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Sporting a black sleeve to help protect his dislocated left shoulder, Wade played 27 minutes and recorded 12 points and 8 assists, in a 111–103 overtime loss. For the season, Wade averaged 27.4 points, 7.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game shooting 50% from the field, and finished the season as the NBA's leader in PER (Player efficiency rating).
In the playoffs, Wade averaged 23.5 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game, as the Heat were swept in the first round by the Chicago Bulls. Following the playoffs, Wade underwent a pair of successful surgeries to repair his dislocated left shoulder and left knee. The knee ailment, commonly called "jumper's knee," prevented Wade from joining USA Basketball in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament over the summer.
After missing the Tournament of Americas Olympic Qualifiers over the summer, Miami's eight pre-season games and first seven regular season games to recover from off-season left knee and left shoulder surgeries, Wade made his first appearance of the 2007–08 season on November 14, 2007. Battling pain in his left knee throughout the season, Wade was elected to his fourth consecutive All-Star Game appearance. However, with the Heat holding the worst record in the NBA and Wade still experiencing problems in his left knee, Heat coach Pat Riley announced Wade would miss the final 21 games of the season to undergo OssaTron treatment on his left knee. Wade averaged 24.6 points, 6.9 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game for the season.
Scoring champion and playoff defeats (2008–10)
After undergoing months of rehabilitation on his left knee and helping the U.S. Olympic team win a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, in which he led the team in scoring, Wade returned to the starting lineup at the start of the 2008–09 season. Early in the season, Wade became the second player in NBA history to tally at least 40 points, 10 assists and five blocked shots in a game since Alvan Adams did so in the 1976–77 season. With a healthy Wade leading the league in scoring and the Heat making a push for a playoff position, Wade was elected to his fifth consecutive All-Star game appearance.
Following the All-Star game, Wade recorded 50 points on 56.6% shooting and added 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a blow-out loss against the Orlando Magic. Wade became the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 50 points while his team lost by at least 20 in a game. The following game, Wade recorded a career-high 16 assists and added 31 points and 7 rebounds in a 103–91 win against the Detroit Pistons. Wade became the second player to record 15 or more assists after scoring at least 50 points since Wilt Chamberlain did so in 1968. Two games later, Wade tied a franchise record with 24 points in the fourth quarter, as he led the Heat back from a 15 point deficit in the final nine minutes of the quarter to secure a 120–115 win over the New York Knicks. For the game, Wade recorded 46 points on 55% field goal shooting, 10 assists, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks. Wade followed the performance with a second-consecutive 40-point game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Playing against his Eastern Conference rival and good friend, LeBron James, Wade registered 41 points on 53% shooting, 9 assists, 7 steals, 7 rebounds and one block as the Heat lost 107–100. The following game, in former teammate Shaquille O'Neal's return to Miami since being traded, Wade tied a career-high with 16 assists and added 35 points on 62% shooting, 6 rebounds, a steal and a block, as the Heat defeated the Phoenix Suns 135–129. Wade became the only player in Heat history to have multiple games with at least 30 points and 15 assists. Less than a week later, Wade tied his franchise record with his 78th consecutive game of scoring in double figures in a double overtime thriller against the Chicago Bulls, in which he scored the game-winning three-point basket to secure a 130–127 win. Wade finished with 48 points on 71.4% shooting, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks in 50 minutes. Wade joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only other player in NBA history to score that many points and have that many assists in a game, while having as high of a field goal percentage. Two games later, Wade surpassed Alonzo Mourning and became the Heat's all-time leading scorer in a triple overtime classic against the Utah Jazz. Wade finished with 50 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks in a 140–129 win.
During the season, Wade became the first player in NBA history to accumulate at least 2,000 points, 500 assists, 100 steals, and 100 blocks in a season and is the first player of 6 ft. 5 in. or shorter to register at least 100 blocks in a season. Wade also became just the fifth player in NBA History to reach 2,000 points, 500 assists, and 150 steals in a season. After a 97–92 win against the Charlotte Bobcats, Wade helped the Heat clinch a playoff berth and become only the second team in NBA History to reach the postseason after winning 15 or fewer games the year before. In a 122–105 win against the New York Knicks, Wade recorded a career high 55 points on 63% field goal shooting and added 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Wade recorded 50 points through three quarters and was pulled out of the game while he was one point shy of eclipsing the franchise record of 56 points set by Glen Rice. For the season, Wade averaged a league high 30.2 points per game, earning his first NBA Scoring Title, and added 7.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Wade finished the season with higher point, assist, steal and block averages than LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, who both finished ahead of Wade in the MVP race.
On November 1, in just his third game of the 2009–10 season Wade recorded his 10,000th career point in a 95–87 win against the Chicago Bulls. On November 12 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade made a spectacular dunk over Anderson Varejão, considered by many to be one of the greatest of the season until then. LeBron James himself described the dunk as "great, probably top 10 all-time". Two days later against the New Jersey Nets, with the Heat down by two in the final seconds, Wade hit a clutch three-point shot, giving the Heat the win by one point, 81–80. On January 6, Wade scored a season-high 44 points in an overtime loss against the Boston Celtics, the most points scored by a player in a losing effort in the season until that point. On January 21, Wade was selected to play for the East in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, which was his sixth overall All-Star appearance. Wade was named the game's MVP after recording 28 points, 11 assists, 5 steals and 6 rebounds.
In just his second game back from the All-Star Game on February 17, Wade strained his calf in the first quarter. He left the game with 8 points in 8 minutes of play, ending his personal and also Heat's franchise record streak of 148 consecutive games with at least 10 points. On April 2, Wade was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month and Player of the Week twice for his play in the month of March, leading the Heat to a 12–3, the team's best record since March 2006. It was his first Player of the Month award of the season and 5th of his career. He averaged 26.9 and 7.5 assists per game, which both ranked third in the Eastern Conference, and 2.3 steals per game, which ranked first. Wade recorded six 30 points games and had six double-doubles in the month, including a season-high 14 assists in an overtime win against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 4.
For the season, Wade averaged 26.6 points on 47.6% field goal shooting, 6.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks per game, while leading his team to a 47–35 record, clinching the fifth seed in the NBA Playoffs. In the first round, with the Heat facing a sweep against the Boston Celtics, Wade recorded a career playoff-high and also franchise record 46 points, outscoring the entire Celtics team in the 4th quarter with 19 points versus 15 by Boston. It was also Wade's sixth career playoff game with at least 40 points scored. Despite averaging 33.2 points on 56.4% shooting, 6.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks, Wade and the Heat would lose to Boston in five games.
The Big 3 era (2010–present)
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Dwyane Wade with his new teammate, LeBron James.
During the off-season, Miami-Dade County commissioners voted unanimously to rename the county "Miami-Wade County" for one week from July 1–7, 2010 in Wade's honor and to try and convince Wade to stay in Miami and sign with the Heat. On July 7, it was announced that Wade would be re-signing with the Miami Heat, along with former Toronto Raptor, Chris Bosh. The following day, LeBron James announced he would be joining the Heat to play with Wade and Bosh, causing a stir in the media and among fans. Wade, Bosh and James signed their contracts on July 9. For the season, Wade averaged 25.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game shooting 50% from the field. The Heat reached the Finals, but lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games, despite Wade averaging 26.5 points, 7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game for the series and 24.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.4 for the entire playoffs.
Prior to the beginning of the 2011-12 NBA season, Bosh in 2012 opined Wade should take the last second shot instead of Bosh or James to win or lose a game based off Wade's past success. On February 26, 2012 at the All-Star Game Wade recorded what was only the third triple-double in the history of the contest, posting 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, joining Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only players ever to record the prestigious stat (at the 1997 and 2011 games respectively). On March 10, 2012 Wade made the game-winning shot against the Indiana Pacers to give the Heat a 93–91 overtime win. Wade finished the season averaging 22.1 points, 4.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. In the playoffs, the Heat defeated the New York Knicks in 5 games in the first round, then defeated the Indiana Pacers in 6 games in the second round. Wade heated up in Game 6 of the second round, recording 41 points and 10 rebounds. The Celtics took the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Heat prevailed and advanced to the NBA Finals. They lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of the finals, but won the next four games, and Wade secured his second NBA title. Wade averaged 22.6 points per game in the series.
United States national team
Wade was a member of the 2004 US Olympics team with fellow NBA All-Stars LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. The team competed in the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan, in which Wade averaged 19.3 points per game. The team won a bronze medal, which disappointed many USA fans who had hoped for a return to the days of the original "Dream Team". Wade was named to the USA Men's Basketball National Team from 2006 to 2008. He was named co-captain of the 2006 team, along with James and Anthony. In 2007, due to injury, Wade was unable to compete at the Tournament of Americas Olympic Qualifiers, where the United States compiled a 10–0 record and qualified for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
At the 2008 Olympics, the United States went unbeaten and earned gold medal honors, defeating the 2006 World Champion Spain in the final game. Wade led the team in scoring throughout the tournament and tallied a game high 27 points in 27 minutes on 75% field goal shooting and added 4 steals, 2 assists and 2 rebounds in the game. For the tournament, he averaged a team high 16 points in 18 minutes on 67% field goal shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2.3 steals, as the United States lived up to their Redeem Team moniker and captured gold medal honors for the first time since 2000.
On June 28, 2012, it was reported that Wade would miss the 2012 Olympics in London because of knee surgery.