Miami Heat

Here’s what Dwyane Wade did to thank Heat employees. And a look at Wade’s new tattoo

Miami Heat pays tribute to Dwyane Wade

The Miami Heat honored Dwyane Wade prior to his last regular-season home game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at AmericanAirlines Arena.
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The Miami Heat honored Dwyane Wade prior to his last regular-season home game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Just a week into retirement, Dwyane Wade spent part of his day Wednesday thanking Heat employees at AmericanAirlines Arena.

As a surprise to those working within the organization, Wade addressed the entire staff during a meeting and then took individual photos with employees and signed autographs. The line of those waiting for photos and autographs took about 2.5 hours for Wade to complete.

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Heat employees posted photos and videos with Wade on social media Wednesday. Wade even posted a video on Instagram of his day at the arena and a photo in front of his locker after it was cleaned out, with the message: “Took some time today to thank some important people behind the scenes at the [Miami Heat.]”

“Jus [sic] showing my appreciation for everything they do behind the scenes for all of us. Learned this from my brother [Caron Buter],” Wade went on to write on his Twitter account.

“Not sure there’s even a way to articulate what [Wade] did today for the entire Heat organization,” Heat Internet Services Mobile Coordinator Christopher Pendas tweeted Wednesday night. “Came by and literally took a photo and signed autographs with EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE. He never took a break. He never stopped. Didn’t leave until every employee got their moment.

“Nobody does that. ... And he didn’t have to. For as much of a legend as he is on the court, he’s an even bigger one off of it. Thanks for making everyone’s day, [Wade]. #LeagueOfHisOwn”

Wade played his final NBA game last Wednesday, finishing the season with averages of 15 points, four rebounds and 4.2 assists in 72 games while playing off the bench.

It looks like the 37-year-old Wade has enjoyed his first week of retirement. Along with partying in New York City following his final game, Wade had a spa day in Fort Lauderdale and also enjoyed an afternoon on the golf course.

Wade even decided to get a tattoo in the one week he’s been retired.

Photos surfaced Wednesday on Instagram of Wade’s new tattoo, which takes up most of his left thigh. It reads, “My Belief is Strong3r than your Doubt,” which is a quote Wade used throughout his 16-year NBA career.

Wade’s new tattoo, which took six hours to complete, also features street signs as a tribute to places that have impacted his life. Among the places included in the tattoo is Marquette, Wade County and 59 St. (he grew up on the corner of 59th Street and Prairie Avenue in Robbins, Ill.).

It’s believed to be Wade’s second tattoo after deciding to get his first a few months ago, “Kaavia” on his right shoulder and “James” on his left shoulder for his newborn daughter.

“This city has allowed me to grow,” Wade said last week of Miami. “I hope they are proud of what they helped me become. This city means everything to me. It’s forever and ever and ever going to be my home. It’s the end of the basketball part of me, but there’s so much more that I want to do with this city. So much more that we can accomplish together.”

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.