Feb. 14, 2019, Wade and Nowitzki’s final matchup. Photo by: Kevin Jairaj via USA Today
April 12, 2019 — Tuesday night Apr. 9, 2019 was a memorable one for the NBA. Two future Hall of Famers, Dwayne Wade and Dirk Nowitzki, played for the last time on their home courts; it didn’t hurt that the two of them had 30-point nights.
Dwayne Wade attended Marquette University and chose to forgo his senior year to enter the NBA draft. He was selected as the fifth overall draft pick in 2003 to the Miami Heat, where he solidified himself as one of the greatest two-guards to ever play the game.
Wade was an elite guard from the start, he created plays in and around the arc and was an exceptional mid-range shooter. He played with his own edge, once he had the ball in his hands the defenders were usually juked and scored on.
By ’05-’06 Wade averaged 27.2 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds. When the Heat faced-off the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals, Wade’s performance was unstoppable. Games three, four and five he scored 42, 36 and 43 points to bring the Heat back from an 0-2 deficit and lead the series 3-2. In game 6 Wade had 36 points and beat the Mavericks 4-2 in the series. He won the Finals MVP Trophy and brought Miami their first championship.
In 2016 Wade joined the Chicago Bulls because they offered him $47 million and the Heat did not want to match that offer. Chicago is Wade’s hometown, so this signing was an exciting chance for him to put on the Bulls uniform.
In 2017 Wade signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers and reunited with his long-time friend, LeBron James. Although their time together was brief, Wade was traded back to Miami in 2018 as a homecoming gesture.
Wade is leaving the league on his own terms, healthy and vibrant. He knows he could play a couple more years, but he wants to wrap up his career on a positive note. He’s also shown that he can still hit a game winning shot when it counts, as he did against the Warriors in Feb.
“It just felt right,” Wade said following a morning shoot around in Boston. “It’s a feeling you get. I looked at my overall body of work, my career, where I’m at in my life, my age, everything. It just felt right. It felt like the time for me to step away from the game.” (Flannery, P. SBNation)
Wade has had an electrifying 13-year run in the NBA: he has the most blocks as a guard in NBA history, averaged 23.7 ppg and, “left the Heat as Miami’s all-time leader in games played, points, FGM and FGA, FTM and FTA, double-figure scoring efforts, assists, steals, starts and minutes.” (NBA.com) D-Wade was an elite
He also received a shoutout from the 44th President Barack Obama. #Dope
This 7-foot power-forward is considered the greatest international born players of all time. Born in Germany, he started playing for the German league, averaging 28 points per game.
In March of 1998 the 18-year-old Nowitzki was chosen to play at the Nike Hoop Summit with some well-known stars such as Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley. Nowitzki scored 33 points, 14 rebounds and three steals. After that display, Nowitzki was in high demand and ready for the draft. Barkley discussed this encounter during Nowitzki’s farewell game, “I asked him where you going to college next year? ‘I’m going to the army.’ There’s no 7-foot athletes in the army, you should go to Auburn [ha].”
He skipped college all together and was drafted as the ninth pick to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998, but he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in a multi-team deal.
In the ’05-’06 season the Mavs made it to the NBA Finals to play against the Miami Heat (which I explained above.) Finally, in ’10-’11 season Nowitzki had made it to the finals against the Miami Big 3 again and defeated them in Game six 105-95 basically solo.
Nowitzki played through injury and a 101 degree fever, but he was determined to beat the Heat this time around. Not to mention he beat the top three All-Stars alone.
These two have really set the bar in basketball and created amazing story lines to follow. It’s kinda funny that these two faced each other during different championship years and are now retiring the same year.
Basketball is going to miss the epic moments from these two! I could watch highlights over and over again, especially from their two NBA Championship matchups.