Rapper Mike Smiff was in New York on Thursday when he heard the news: Dwyane Wade was coming back to Miami.
Wrapped up in excitement about Wade’s return, Smiff knew he had to do something to commemorate the news. So he decided to do what he does best.
“I need to make a song about this,” Smiff told himself, “a dedication to Wade.”
That song — a one-minute, 53-second freestyle called “Welcome Back D Wade” — came out on Tuesday. The accompanying video has Smiff, a 27-year-old Miami native and part of the South Florida-based Slip N Slide Records label, rapping outside AmericanAirlines Arena and contains highlights of Wade’s time in Miami — both on the court and in the community — sprinkled throughout.
“Dade County will always be Wade’s County,” Smiff raps to open the song after a brief intro. “It takes a lot to get our respect, but Wade’s got it.”
The journey to gaining that respect began in 2003, when the Heat drafted Wade with the fifth overall pick. The next 13 seasons were for the history books. Wade led Miami to three NBA championships and was named an All-Star in each of his final 12 seasons with the team. In that span, Wade became the face of the franchise and set team records in a plethora of categories, including total games played (855), points scored (20,221), steals (1,414) and assists (4,944), among others.
“That’s a hometown hero,” Smiff said Wednesday.
But Smiff said Wade’s presence and impact on Miami superseded his talent on the court. He pointed to Wade’s involvement with the community and with his Wade’s World Foundation, which promotes education, heath and social skills for children in at-risk situations.
That’s why, Smiff said, it was tough when Wade left Miami after the 2016 season following a battle of egos with team president Pat Riley.
“When people were telling me about it,” Smiff said, “it didn’t feel right.”
Wade spent the 2016-17 season with the Chicago Bulls before heading to Cleveland for the first part of the 2017-18 season and then being traded back to the Heat last week. Smiff acknowledged that it was tough to watch Wade play for other teams, but that didn’t stop him from supporting the player who had given 13 years to Miami and built up the Heat franchise.
“As long as he wasn’t playing the Heat, I was still rooting for him and praying for him to stay healthy,” Smiff said. “But things just didn’t look right with that Bulls [or Cavaliers] logo on his jersey.”
Smiff and the rest of the Miami Heat fan base don’t have to worry about that anymore. Wade’s in Miami again, and he said he plans to stay here until the end of his career.
“He’s back where he’s supposed to be,” Smiff said.