After an offseason filled with plenty of speculation and persistent questions, Dwyane Wade at last announced his plans for the 2018-19 NBA season. In a video that runs nearly 10 minutes long, Wade asked the Miami Heat fans to join him for “one last dance.”
In his monologue, Wade waxes over his basketball career that began as a young child. He touched on the challenges of being a professional athlete and spoke about fans not truly being aware of who players are and what they deal with in their personal lives.
That led Wade to reflect on his high school and collegiate career, and also being an afterthought in the 2003 NBA Draft despite being taken fifth overall by the Heat:
“How did I end up having a career and life so far in this game of basketball that I’ve had? I didn’t play Varsity until my junior year. I wasn’t good enough to play. Because I did play. I had three scholarship offers to go to school. Three and a half — I had a partial one to another school. I had to sit out my first year when I went to college. Couldn’t play. I got drafted fifth in the NBA Draft in 2003, but it wasn’t about me.”
Wade in some sense is correct, as the 2003 Draft is very much about LeBron James. Being the unquestioned top talent in the draft and with the Cleveland Cavaliers holding the first overall pick, made for a tremendous storyline.
After that, Wade’s draft class is notorious in that Darko Milicic, taken No. 2 by the Detroit Pistons, turned out to be one of the biggest busts in NBA Draft history.
Where Wade is incorrect is whenever the talent from the 2003 Draft is discussed, his name is mentioned along with Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and James. That Bosh and James were drafted in the same year as Wade was an interesting footnote when they joined forces on the Heat.
James and Wade grew to become close friends, which fueled speculation Wade would follow James to the Los Angeles Lakers just as he did to Cleveland. But Wade was adamant the only options being considered were retirement or returning with the Heat.
That remained the case even after the team opened up a roster spot by waiving Luol Deng, and now it is official. What will be worth watching is whether Wade softens on his stance of not wanting a farewell tour similar to what Kobe Bryant received during his final season.