Barry Jackson

Dwyane Wade wanted to play pickup basketball in New York City this week. Here’s what happened next.

Wade: “I’m done proving to people”

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade says, "I'm done proving to people," after practice on April 18, 2018.
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Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade says, "I'm done proving to people," after practice on April 18, 2018.

As the Heat awaits word from Dwyane Wade about whether he intends to play this season, the 12-time All-Star guard had some court time this week with a new and surprised set of teammates and opponents, including a fashion designer, a video editor and several Manhattan businessmen.

Wade showed up at an upscale New York gym to play pickup basketball with a bunch of strangers for 90 minutes on Wednesday evening, giving more than two dozen of them the basketball memory of a lifetime.

Wade was in New York City this week for the opening of a restaurant that he invested in. Eager to get in a workout, he tweeted: “Where the local hoopers at NYC? The after work hoopers.”

Wade then received an Instagram message from Tom Weingarten, who runs social media for Overtime, a media company that traditionally offers to film video of up-and-coming athletes.

“He answered immediately,” Weingarten said. “He wanted to surprise some local fans and do it for them. He said, ‘I’m going to get a haircut and then go to Chelsea Piers.’ He was proactive about it.”

When Wade showed up at the Chelsea Piers complex, there were about 18 people playing pickup basketball, and Wade joined in.

“People couldn’t tell at first it was him until he took his hat off,” said Sam Gordon, the editor in chief of Overtime who played in the game with Wade. “They weren’t fawning over him initially. Then people started hearing he was there and they started gathering and taking selfies. By the end, there were 34 people. He was super relaxed, not full of himself, answering questions.”

Gordon said nobody asked Wade if he intends to play this season and Wade didn’t mention that topic.

But there were some amusing moments during the game.

After Overtime videographer Mike Kaufman made a nifty move to the basket, Wade said: “Someone got to sign him to a 10-day contract.”

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Thank you NYC! #localhoopersneedlovetoo

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When Wade threw an alley-oop to Gordon for a layup, Wade called him the “white LeBron,” according to Gordon.

Apparently one pick-up player got on Wade’s nerves.

“One guy who guarded Dwyane was very intense and called lots of fouls on Dwyane and Dwyane wasn’t happy about it,” Weingarten said. “Guys were aggressive with Dwyane. They weren’t taking it easy on him.”

Gordon said Wade “wasn’t going 100 percent and wasn’t dunking on anyone. But he had a couple of patented elbow fadeaways. And he did a Eurostep move into a floater.”

Wade also shot a bunch of threes and made a shot close to halfcourt, Weingarten said.

Overtime taped the entire 90 minutes that Wade played and posted a video of six minutes of highlights.

Gordon described the experience of sharing a court with Wade as “surreal.”

After all, “it’s not every day you get to play with one of the greatest NBA players of all time,” Gordon said. “I couldn’t go to sleep until early morning [Thursday morning] because we were so excited.”

Heat president Pat Riley has said Wade has an open invitation to return, but Wade has not disclosed whether he will play this season. He has said if he plays at all, it will only be for Miami. The Heat opens training camp Sept. 25.

Here are my Dolphins notes from Thursday, including nuggets on Jerome Baker, Danny Amendola, Brandon Bolden, Kenny Stills and more.

Here are my Hurricanes nuggets from Thursday, including some surprising playing time revelations from the LSU game and more.

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