It's official. No one else will ever wear No. 3 for the Miami Heat again, as Dwyane Wade's jersey was raised to the rafters of American Airlines Arena during halftime of the matchup between the Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night. Wade became the sixth player in Heat history to have his jersey retired, joining Chris Bosh, Tim Hardaway, Michael Jordan (the Heat retired Jordan's number out of respect even though he never played for the franchise), Shaquille O'Neal, and Alonzo Mourning.
After his jersey was raised to the rafters, Wade gave a speech; one that he ended by quoting late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
"Kobe said the most important thing is to try to inspire others so they can be great in whatever they try to do," Wade said. "I hope I inspired you."
Wade played 14 seasons with the Heat after they selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 Draft. He is the team's all-time leader in several major categories including games and minutes played, points, assists, and steals. He won three titles with the Heat and was named to 13 All-Star Games during his tenure with the team.
It's impossible to talk about Wade's career without mentioning LeBron James. The two went to four straight NBA Finals -- and won two titles -- as teammates in Miami from 2010 to 2014. Thus, it's only fitting that James shared a congratulatory message with Wade before his No. 3 jersey was raised to the rafters in Miami on Saturday night.
"My brother D-Wade, I just want to say congratulations to you man on getting your jersey retired," James said in a video. "I mean, am I really sitting here congratulating you on something that we both knew was going to happen when we were sitting at pre-Draft in Chicago? I feel like as soon as the Miami Heat drafted you and said Dwyane Wade out of Marquette that the name and the jersey was going up in the rafters. I think it was inevitable.
"I mean I really should be sitting here wondering like 'when's that statue going to go outside American Airlines Arena?' Which one is it going to be? Is it going to be the Flash dunk that you did in the Finals when you won your first championship? I don't know, nah, maybe not that one. Is it the one where you stand on top of the scoreboard and you say 'this my house'? Or maybe it's the one where you keep pulling yourself up on the rim right there pregame before the game starts... Congratulations brother, I love you."
James was far from the only one of Wade's former teammates to congratulate the 2006 Finals MVP on an illustrious career, as others such as Caron Butler and Shaquille O'Neal did as well.
The weekend has been a memorable -- and eventful -- one for Wade. His new documentary "Life Unexpected" will debut on Sunday, and on Friday he hit the stage with rapper Rick Ross to perform a new song that the two have together entitled "Season Ticket Holder." You can see that performance below:
February 22, 2020 was also officially declared Dwyane Wade Day in Miami-Dade county by Mayor Francis Suarez.