Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat bus pulled up into the Barclays Center lot right located directly behind the opposing teams’ tunnel. Every player was rocking some sort of unique suit, while everybody waited for the man himself to step off the bus and get ready for his last game in the NBA.
It was a special night in Brooklyn, to say the least.
Walking up was Wade in a shiny gold sports jacket. “Show us what’s on the inside, Dwyane!” yelled one photographer. All Heat players followed him straight to the Nets logo at center court.
Not long after, fans quickly rushed into the arena with their No.3 jerseys. People couldn’t wait for the night to get started. It was so bizarre, yet so... real. So Brooklyn. It was Wade’s last game ever and despite torching the Nets in the past, everybody came together that one night to watch a legend play his final game.
Anticipation lingered. Nobody cared much about the game. It was all about D-Wade. The Nets even gave him a special tribute video during the introductions. It was his show.
With the Nets fighting for playoff seeding and the Heat out of the playoffs, Brooklyn took care of business and blew the Heat out of the water. It made for an impactful ending as the sold-out crowd chanted, “We want Wade, we want Wade!” Every time he touched the ball, the entire building screamed at the top of their lungs: “SHOOT!!!!”
Kenny Atkinson worried that his team was losing focus.
I’ve never seen anything like it before. The Nets were winning and ready to pack their bags for a playoff series against the Sixers. So, even Nets fans were cheering him on. There was no harm in it. All love. Yes, the Brooklyn way.
LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul were all courtside. You know, the banana boat squad. Wade walked over to them and spent several minutes hugging and embracing his friends, his brothers. All of Barclays watched as Caris LeVert addressed the fans in the background.
But all eyes were on the banana boat.
It brought back memories to when Prince Williams and Princess Kate met Jay-Z and Beyonce in halftime of a game. For one moment, all of Barclays Center, all of Brooklyn, and the entire basketball world had their eyes set on this one special moment.
The Nets ended up winning the game 113-94, finishing the season with a 42-40 record — the first time they’ve finished above .500 since the 2013-14 season. They also finished the season with a 34-22 record since starting the season 8-18.
It took away from their big moment on their home floor, but nobody was complaining as Wade said his final farewell...
And, to cap off a wild night, Wade signed almost every jersey he possibly could. It correlates with everything D-Wade was. While he may not have been the best player of our time, he was certainly one of the most likable players in the game. This night showed just that.
How could we forget this gem, too?!
After the game, Brooklyn’s star D’Angelo Russell addressed reporters while sporting his Wade jersey — the one they had exchanged earlier in the season. Russell and Wade have a good relationship. Cameras caught Wade telling Russell at All-Star Weekend, “You’re one of the best in the league.”
”It kind of look staged, right? I don’t believe in staging anything. It was all candid.” Russell told me in a piece I wrote for SNY. “Everything you see with me… it’s real s—t. And talking with D-Wade was real. Talking to him like that, you appreciate any encouragement or advice especially from somebody like that… He told me to just stay at it, be great, love it.”
The video cuts after Wade gives him one bit of advice: “Whatever you did to get here… Do more.”
That was the kind of person D-Wade was. It feels like ages ago, it really does given the circumstances we’re under today. But nothing and nobody can take away the emotions that were present this night.
The Hall-of-Famer walked off into the Barclays tunnel, his basketball career a thing of the past. He went out on top with love pouring down from the entire basketball world.
And Brooklyn just so happened to be his final act.