NEW YORK -- Dwyane Wade will have no shortage of fans in New York after Friday night.
Wade was critical on Thursday and Friday of the NBA’s decision to move forward with the Heat’s road game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden just a few days after Superstorm Sandy caused widespread damage and power outages in New York and New Jersey. The Heat’s shooting guard then went one step further and decided to donate his salary from Friday night’s game to disaster relief.
“The money I make tonight can be left for a good cause,” Wade told USA Today. “I know a lot of people here. Knowing the things they have been through, it’s just mind-boggling. Miami is a place that is affected by hurricanes all the time, so I know how the community can be impacted by it. It’s tough.”
If you divide Wade’s contract this season by 82 games, the figure comes out to $209,536.86.
Thousands of residents in New York were without power Friday night. Lower Manhattan from 34th Street south was in the dark and subway lines were closed. Many fans who attended the game arrived by bus.
But basketball was the last thing on the minds of most New Yorkers. With runners in the city for the New York City Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, hotels were booked solid long before the storm. Many people without power had few options other than lighting a candle and sitting in the dark. Friday’s low temperature was 37 degrees.
On Friday afternoon, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg canceled the marathon after public outcry that the race would exacerbate traffic problems while also taking resources away from storm victims.
“While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division,” said a statement released by the mayor’s office. “We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.”
On Thursday evening, it took the Heat’s team bus about three hours to travel from Newark Liberty International Airport to the team’s hotel in Manhattan. Wade complained about the traffic on Twitter and then spoke out about the decision to play the game.
“3 hour traffic just to get into the NY city…#C’monMan…,” Wade wrote on Twitter.
Wade deleted his original tweet and, to avoid sounding insensitive, replaced it with a clarification.
“2 be clear ‘Traffic tweet was meant 2 say’... We shouldn’t B hre 2 play a basketball game when theirs so many families obviously still R affected by #Sandy,” Wade wrote.
On Friday morning, Wade was still surprised the league was allowing the game to be played. LeBron James was more receptive to playing the game, which he said would give families a brief diversion during tough times. The game is the first major event in the city since Hurricane Sandy.
“Sports does allow people for a few hours to get away from situations that may not be so bright at the time,” James said, “and this may be one of those instances when we can provide that for a lot of families here and just kind of get their mind off the devastation that hit this area this past week.”
Heat center Joel Anthony was activated on Friday after recovering from a strained hamstring for more than a month. Anthony missed the entire preseason. Terrel Harris and Dexter Pittman (strained right quad) did not dress.