One of Dwyane Wade’s final stops in his 2019 farewell tour was Toronto, where he faced off against Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors one last time.
The attention, however, was not so much what happened on the floor then it was about what happened after the game. Following Toronto’s 117-109 win over the Heat, Kawhi had some high praise to give Wade and his Championship team in 2012 and 2013.
“Just going through those championship series and facing him, and that Miami Heat team is the greatest team I have ever played,” Leonard said after his jersey swap with The Flash. “Being that young and having to guard Wade and LeBron it got me to where I am today. Losing and then coming back and winning just helped me out, man. It’s like I told him before, me going through that and them being as great as they are just made me a better player.”
Considering Kawhi has faced off against plenty of stacked teams before (including the 73 win Warriors), it is not an empty comment.
Wade’s role in the success of the Miami Heat “Big Three” era cannot be ignored. Even after handing the torch to LeBron James, he posted an impressive stat line of 22 points per game and 4.6 assists on 49% shooting. Without him, it is unlikely they see the same results.
When James eventually left for Cleveland, and then to L.A., Wade made some stops as well, playing in Chicago and Cleveland before being reunited with the Heat in 2018. It is where he has been ever since, and where he will (rightfully) end his stellar career.
The Miami star will play his last game on Wednesday night against Brooklyn, where he will no doubt receive a roaring send-off.