Now I know what you’re thinking…why is there a basketball article on ComicBook Debate? With the career of Dwyane Wade coming to a close last night, the incredible legacy of the Flash to both basketball and to myself is worth exploring. Taking a more personal approach, I’ll focus on what Dwyane has meant to me growing up, how he got the Flash name, and even how his career inspired ComicBook Debate in the first place.
In 2003, the NBA welcomed one of the greatest classes in NBA history. With talents like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony, the class brought multiple future Hall of Famers to the NBA. Born and raised in Chicago and coming from Marquette University, Dwayne Wade has always been talented yet underrated at the same time. With an incredible college career, Wade was selected 5th overall in the NBA Draft to the Miami Heat. The raw talent was always there but no one could have imagined the career that would follow, except for Dwyane Wade himself.
Let’s move this into a personal light. I can easily go on for paragraphs about Dwyane Wade’s first few years in the NBA and his breakthrough seasons but instead I’ll tell you guys about my connection to basketball. Throughout my life, I was the stereotypical nerd, while I was the tallest kid in class and always pushed towards basketball, it wasn’t something I naturally gravitated towards. My heart was always in comics and while everyone was discussing sports, I was reading the latest Superman stories. Flash forward to 2006 and the NBA Finals.
My Introduction to Basketball
The season before, the Miami Heat traded for legend Shaquille O’Neal. Whether you watched basketball or not, you knew Shaq. After all, he was the literal Superman of sports. Knowing Shaq was in the NBA finals that year compelled me to watch. While Dallas doubled-team Shaq most of the series, it was up to an emerging young star to put the team on his back. That young star was Dwayne Wade and his path to winning the 06′ championship launched my personal love for basketball.
Shaq, known as Superman for years in the NBA for his sheer dominance and love for the character, quickly dubbed Wade with another superhero title, the Flash. With Superman and Flash playing together on one basketball team, you can imagine why I would immediately gravitate towards this. The 2006 NBA finals blew my mind and it was in large part to Dwyane Wade. His performances in games three, four, and five, in which he scored 42, 36, and 43 points, led the Heat back to win the series. Game 3 was extra special, Wade tied his playoff high with 42 points and 15 came in the fourth quarter.
Success and Championships
The Heat, carried by The Flash, went on to win Game 6 behind Wade’s 36 points, taking the series 4–2. Flash became the fifth youngest player in NBA history to win NBA Finals MVP and continues to hold one of the highest scoring averages in Finals history.
After the 2006 NBA Finals, my personal journey with basketball began. I started to watch the game more often alongside by brothers. LeBron James quickly became another favorite player of ours alongside Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. The more I watched the game, the more I wanted to play it. The move to sports was still a new endeavor for me. While I wanted to play like Dwyane Wade, I definitely couldn’t. Still, if there was one lesson Wade tought fans, it’s that you get up every time you fall. That same year, I started playing basketball for my school team and continued to play all the way through my senior year.
What Dwyane Wade did was help me round myself as a person. Multiple interests, passions and hobbies blended into my studies and helped me achieve a balance in my life. Seeing Dwyane Wade’s spectacular play completely mesmerized me and in turn, diversified my interests. Not only did I just care about superheroes now, I also fell in love with basketball. Playing with my team and watching the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade play continued to be my favorite hobbies for the next few years.
The BIG 3 Era
In summer of 2010, the Miami Heat pulled the greatest power move in NBA history. Putting together 3 of the greatest players from the 2003 Draft on one team seemed impossible. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh joined together to create the first super team in years. At this point, I was a sophomore in high school and basketball was still the priority. On the court, I was getting much better. At the same time, my favorite team was starting its own dominant 4 year dynasty. To top it all off, my superhero mind was being blown through the likes of The Dark Knight Trilogy, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and of course, Man of Steel.
The Miami Heat Big 3 era lasted from the summer of 2010 to the summer of 2014, bookended by the rise of LeBron James as one the greatest to ever play. In the 2012 season, Wade and the Big 3 captured their second NBA Finals with Flash averaging 22 points per game. Chief among golden era years was 2013, specifically one week of 2013, June 14th to June 21st. On June 14th, I saw Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in theaters. It truly changed the way I wanted to consume superhero media. I didn’t just want to watch these films and read these comics, I wanted to write about them, create my own stories and explore them on a deeper level.
Miami Heat and Man of Steel
That same week, I was experiencing my personal peak basketball enjoyment. This was the greatest sports team I ever cheered for and they were on the path to extraordinary greatness. During that week, the Miami Heat, led by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, took over the series in a miraculous finish to beat the Spurs in 7 games and capture another NBA championship.
During the 2013 Finals Wade average almost 20 points a game during the against the San Antonio Spurs. After the Spurs took a 2–1 series lead, all the pressure was on the Heat to survive or their hopes of a back to back championship would be over. In game 4, Wade scored 32 points followed by a 23 points and 10 rebounds bout in game 7 as the Heat clinched their second straight championship and Wade’s third NBA championship.
In Summer of 2014, the Miami Heat dynasty era ended as LeBron James left home to play and eventually win a championship for the city of Cleveland. 2015 was a very tough time to be a Miami Heat fan, with James out and Wade starting to slow down due to injuries, the state of the team was not as spectacular. It was the first time I saw my favorite player, the guy who got me watching basketball in the first place, start to have more cracks in the armor. At the same time, Chris Bosh was forced into retirement after a severe complication due to blood clots. Things were a far cry from the legendary 4 year era that came before.
At this point, I was in my junior year of college. A finance major, I was eagerly looking for another escape. What I missed most was the shared team camaraderie that I felt watching Wade and the Heat contend for championships. I liked the idea of a band of brothers working towards a common goal. While I no longer had the time to play competitive basketball like I did in high school and my favorite team was riddled with injuries, I turned back to my original passion, superheroes and comic books.
Determination and Leadership
I combined all the lessons I learned watching Dwyane Wade play; ‘fall down 7-get up 8’, determination, leadership, knowing when to lead and when to let others lead you, humility, humbleness, drive, passion, perseverance and to push yourself to be the best. Taking in all of that, I put it towards a new project, ComicBook Debate. My teammates? My actual brothers. And only a few years later, a worldwide team of some of the most talented, diverse and determined individuals joined us to create something truly special.
How Dwyane Wade inspired ComicBook Debate
During the time, Dwyane Wade left Miami to live out a lifelong dream of playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls in 2016. At the time basketball took a small step back as work, college and ComicBook Debate became my primary focus. Films like Batman v Superman were enough to keep me engaged and CBD started to expand. I was still using all the lessons I learned from the fundamentals of basketball and watching Wade. In 2018, Flash returned to the Miami Heat and my love for the team came back again. There is a saying associated with the greatest NBA players, and that they are bigger than basketball. Dwyane Wade was not just an expert at his craft, he has also been a community leader, activist, and philanthropist.
Giving back to the community and using your platform for something bigger than yourself has been one of the defining traits of Dwyane and something I carry close to my chest as well. No matter how big or small your platform is, there is always room to give back and inspire others. The fact that my brothers and I simply watched basketball growing up understates that it directly led to the social work we do today. There would be no ComicBook Debate if there wasn’t Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and others to inspire my brothers and I as we grew up.
This year, Dwyane Wade’s incredible career was rewarded with an inspiring farewell tour. As Flash was ready to hang up his proverbial costume, the entire NBA joined to honor him as he came to each city. Last night Dwyane Wade’s career came to a close and one of the greatest legacies in NBA history was given an epilogue. With his own brothers for life, best friends, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony in attendance, Wade finished his final game with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, recording the fifth triple-double of his Hall of Fame career. With that, his illustrious career has come to an end.
Ending a Career
“Hopefully, I created enough for this state, for the city, for the fans here, for the young kids here,” Wade said. “Hopefully, I can continue to be an inspiration for them, (after) being an individual who wasn’t given everything, who the odds were stacked against. Even when I made it to the NBA, still had odds stacked against me. But I continued to believe in myself. I continued to put my head down and worked.”
It’s like everything I’ve done has led up to this moment,” Wade said. “It’s like, all a body of work, all the injuries, all the surgeries, all the tough times. It led up to this moment. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to my last game in this arena, to my last season.”Dwyane Wade on his final game
Overall, Dwyane Wade impacted my life in multiple ways. I first heard of Dwyane as a 12 year old nerdy kid in 6th grade and was in awe of his talent as he carried his team to a championship. 13 years later, Flash has written the final chapter in his basketball legacy and as a 25 year old, I am still inspired by Dwyane Wade and the lessons he taught fans like myself, my brothers and generations of fans from around the world. So why is there a basketball article on ComicBook Debate? Well it might have been the thing that sparked it in the first place. Thank you for an amazing career Dwyane Wade.