For the first time with the Chicago Bulls, Dwyane Wade returned to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat. Predictably, the welcome was warm for the greatest player in franchise history.
The Heat gave Wade a video tribute, honoring his accomplishments on the court, and all he did in the community.
Wade was also visibly moved by the stirring ovation the Miami faithful gave him.
Plenty of players have made a significant imprint with the Heat. Teammates LeBron James and Chris Bosh made a huge impact with Wade in the “Big 3” era. Shaquille O’Neal spent the end of his prime years in Miami. While they didn’t win any championships, Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway certainly won’t be forgotten by Heat fans any time soon.
But none match Wade’s overall impact.
He was drafted by the team in 2003. In 2006, Miami won its first NBA Championship, with Wade as the Finals MVP. Without Wade’s influence, it’s unlikely that James and Bosh would have even considered the Heat as an option in 2010.