Magic took his top hat off last night, bowing his his head as he bowed out. Stepping down from the Lakers as President Johnson’s administration lasted for less time than the White House one in Hollywood. So let’s leave it there. Let’s remember him for the greatest Laker legend there ever was as a player. Getting the King as President and just like his head coaching career knowing when to step down when the time calls for it. And with that in mind let’s keep the kids, save the Walton’s job and realize that this scrappy young, injured team didn’t tank like cowards, but instead probably showed to would be free agents just how much the sun can keep rising in California when you don’t give up.
We see you Kevin, Kawhi and Kyrie.
But that wasn’t the only magic to end last night.
It’s been a week of one last times to end this one of a kind NBA season. Like the to be San Francisco Warriors playing their last regular season game in the “Believe” again tribute of the Golden State of Oakland. Or what could be for legends like Dallas Maverick Dirk Nowitzki (for sure and we already miss you), or Miami’s own lifer Udonis Haslem (how about your own retirement tour next season?). But last night in South Beach there was a Heat homecoming, one last dance for Florida’s favourite son. Alonzo Mourning to Shaquille O’Neal. Tim Hardaway to LeBron James.
Last night saw the last step in the greatest Miami Heat player of all-time introduced by a tribute from fellow Chicago born and raised President Obama and his own son. The Flash franchise face of Dwyane Wade’s swan song.
One more FlashDance.
And what a last waltz it was.
We can’t wait for the 30 For 30 documentary. But right now ESPN can wait. As 30 points were enough for Wade’s last home-stand as his Heat cooled off the Sixers 122-99 like blowing on your Philadelphia cheese steaks. As was a “whose cutting onions” courtside close commercial at halftime. Miami missed the playoffs last night and one last chance for Wade to make the postseason his world. But what a season it was anyway. They close out their campaign in Motown tomorrow night against Detroit where their piston of passion and power will lace them up for the last. But nothing was quite like seeing throw his arms up to a crowd that cheered all the way to the rafters his Hall of Fame jersey will one day belong with all those banners the top three Shooting Guard of all-time helped raise.
This one was for 3.
Like this Budweiser, raised like rafters in a pregame tribute and surprise that saw a starting five special shirt swap to conclude a season that has seen him exchange his legendary Heat jersey with uniforms of the best of the best of this golden age of the NBA he helped bring and birth. But none were quite as special as these before he Oprah swapped his jersey with everyone at the buzzer of his last dance. A woman who Dwyane took on a shopping spree after a fire took her home and possessions. A young man bearing a blazer from his first job interview whose Wade’s words changed. A young woman whose college tutiton was paid for by this NBA legend offering her cap and gown. The sister of Joaquin Oliver, the Parkland victim Dwyane Wade paid tribute to raising the last jersey this young, talented kid ever wore. And the best for last, his mom Jolinda, presenting him with the purple royalty robes after her son literally took her to church following her recovery from turning herself in from drug addiction (a sobering but strength redeeming story if you’ve ever read it in Dwyane’s definitive and moving memoir ‘A Father First’) . A church she now runs like the faith he always kept in family, from the court to off the floor. We’ll admit it we’re crying, just like you are.
“Wade County. I love you”, Dwyane shouted in his most iconic, white-hot signature swingman Heat number which will always be synonymous with his name, no matter who rocks it. As he jumped atop the scorers’ table to close out his curtain call game before falling off and onto Chrissy Teigen and her husband courtside.
This may be the last dance as he and 76er Jimmy Butler went out for a white suit affair postgame, but the music number 3 made here will sing for generations of bigger than Basketball inspiration to come.
He will always be a part of Heat culture. Dwyane Wade will always be welcome in Miami.