untung99.biz: Dwyane Wade Gushes Over Allen Iverson Ahead of Hall of Fame Induction Exclusive

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After this weekend, Dwyane Wade will officially be a Hall-of-Famer.

Ahead of his induction on Saturday, Wade, 41, says he’s “beyond grateful” to be presented by one of his heroes, Allen Iverson.

“It means everything to me,” Wade tells PEOPLE of Iverson, 48. “I wear the number three jersey because of Allen Iverson and just have so much respect for that man.”

The retired Miami Heat star is especially “thankful” to be Iverson’s first presentation into the elite group. “No one has been able to use [Iverson] yet, and that I’m the first one to be able to say Allen Iverson has presented me into the Hall of Fame…that right there, if you tell 17-year-old Dwyane that, I wouldn’t believe you.”

Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Iverson’s impact on the sport is invaluable, says Wade. “I just feel like AI is a culture. I come from the culture, and I want to give flowers and respect to someone who meant so much to my career.”

Wade initially considered other former NBA stars for the ceremony, which will take place at the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“You have to pick someone who’s already a Hall-of-Famer, and I used to think, ‘Oh, this is a no-brainer. Udonis Haslem is going to be the one to walk me into the Hall of Fame,'” he tells PEOPLE.

However, Haslem, 43, only announced his retirement this summer, making him ineligible for Wade’s presentation.

“So, when I started thinking about guys that are Hall-of-Famers, guys that I looked up to, right away three names came to mind,” Wade says. “It’s Michael Jordan, it’s Kobe Bryant, and it’s Allen Iverson. Obviously, my brother Kobe couldn’t be in that seat, couldn’t be in one of those chairs to present me in,” Wade says of his late friend, who died in a helicopter crash at age 41 in 2020.

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty

Jordan, a six-time NBA champion, “was an easy one” to consider, says Wade, “but a lot of people try to call Mike.” He laughs, “Mike’s got a lot going on. I just respect the fact that I have any relationship with him.”

Wade says he “wanted to think deeper” than the obvious choice in a busy Jordan. “I wanted to go back to that Dwyane, at that time in my life when Allen Iverson became ‘The Answer’,” says Wade, referencing Iverson’s nickname.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.
Photo Credit:Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It was Iverson’s relatable background that made him the clear choice for Wade. “This is someone who looks like my uncles, who looks like me, who comes from the community I come from.”

Wade says coming “from a broken background” and having “all these certain things in common” was important to him when celebrating the massive moment in his career.

When Iverson presents Wade on Saturday, the Miami Heat great says he’s “very, very thankful” that his parents will be there watching. “My mom and my dad weren’t at my draft,” he shares. “The things that were going on in our life at that time, which we’ve talked about a lot of the negative, but they weren’t in my draft.”

Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat hugs his mother Jolinda Wade before Game One of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena against the Dallas Mavericks on May 31, 2011 in Miami, Florida.
Getty Images Sport – Ronald Martinez

In 2021, Wade opened up to PEOPLE about how his parents’ struggles with addiction “impacted” him as a child.

“Their addictions took them down a path that was solely for them and about them. When that happens, you kind of lose yourself, and lose place of what’s of importance, and a lot of times, if you have kids, that should be what’s of importance,” he said at the time.

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Today, Wade says his relationship with parents Dwyane Wade Sr. and Jolinda Wade is “so sweet” and he’s looking forward to having them “front row” at the ceremony. Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, and Tony Parker, among others, will also be inducted.

Wade adds: “I’m just super, super thankful to be able to go into the Hall of Fame knowing I have so much love and so much support from my village of people.”