untung99.biz: Miami Heats Dwyane Wade is a Hall of Famer for his activism

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Dwyane Wade will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday night in Springfield, Mass., for what he accomplished on the basketball court.

But the greatest impact Wade has made in his life is what he has accomplished, and stands for, off the court.

Yes, Wade is “the greatest player who ever put on a uniform” for the Miami Heat, as Pat Riley said. But that also can be measured beyond championships and trophies.

  • Wade posted a photo of himself wearing a hoodie to his social media pages in 2012 in honor of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager shot to death by a neighborhood crime-watch volunteer. Martin was wearing a hooded sweatshirt at the time.
  • Wade has spoken out against Florida’s laws against the LGBTQ+ community and revealed that those restrictive policies are part of the reason he and his wife, Gabrielle Union, moved out of Florida and to the Los Angeles area. Wade’s daughter, Zaya, came out as transgender in 2020.

And that is just the start of Wade’s impact on society.

Wade’s career on the court certainly was Hall of Fame-worthy, which is why it never was in doubt he would be a first-ballot inductee and the first player drafted by the Heat to enter the Hall. But his activism and refusal to bow to the “shut up and dribble” crowd are what make his contributions off the court so impactful. In 2020, he was featured on the Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

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“I’m comfortable getting behind, supporting and talking about things that I want to and I’m not really worried about the repercussions of it,” Wade told me less than one month after that horrific day in 2018 at Stoneman Douglas.

“I feel that I do understand even more now, sitting here at 36, the responsibility of being in a position like this. It’s not just making a lot of money and being on ‘SportsCenter’ or things like that. I know my role in this life and I try to live up to it and I will continue to.”

And he has fulfilled that promise.

Riley, the Heat’s current president and longtime coach, once told me he sees similarities in the paths of Wade and one of the most outspoken social and political activists of his generation, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

“People believe him,” Riley said of Wade five years ago. “People will follow him.”

Pat Riley calls Dwyane Wade the greatest Heat player

Riley, who drafted the 21-year-old Wade out of Marquette in 2003 with the fifth overall pick, explained his reason for anointing Wade the greatest Heat player over LeBron James.

“LeBron was here for four years and gave us a tremendous lift and helped Dwyane achieve what he wanted to achieve,” Riley said. “But over the body of work here in Miami, Dwyane is the greatest player who ever played for the Heat. That’s not an insult to LeBron, that’s because of his longevity and the short term that LeBron was here.”

None of the others close to Wade — LeBron, Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Bosh — started their careers in Miami.

Wade played 16 seasons, averaging more than 65 games per year. He is among the greatest shooting guards of all time, perhaps No. 3 behind Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. He was a centerpiece on Miami’s three championship teams (2006, 2012, 2013). He was the 2006 Finals MVP, the 2008-09 NBA scoring leader and owns most Heat records.

Wade, who retired following the 2018-19 season, purchased an ownership stake in the Utah Jazz in April 2021 and the WNBA’s Chicago Sky this summer.

And along with partnering with several businesses, Wade co-founded the Social Change Fund United with Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. That organization supports and empowers communities of color and advocates for the human rights of all Black lives.

Additionally, the Wade Family Foundation provides resources and opportunities for youth from underserved communities and disadvantaged backgrounds and uses its platform to help advance racial justice and LGBTQ equality.

“He’s highly respected,” Riley said. “He has gone on to do even probably better things than he did as an NBA player on the court.”