| The NBA pays trib­ute to Wade,

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By David Furones [email protected]­sen­tinel.com / On Twit­ter @DavidFurones_

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade’s “One Last Dance” fi­nal NBA sea­son was filled with jersey swaps, video trib­utes, au­to­graph ses­sions and count­less mem­o­rable mo­ments.

Along the way, ev­ery­one from NBA com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver to op­pos­ing coaches and star play­ers ex­pressed what they’ll re­mem­ber most from Wade’s stel­lar 16-year ca­reer.

Los An­ge­les Lak­ers for­ward, for­mer Heat team­mate LeBron James: “He’s one of the great­est play­ers to ever play the game. We’re go­ing to miss Flash. We’re go­ing to miss him in this league — that’s for sure. Seeing him be able to go off on his own terms, say when he’s done and no­body forced him out or did any­thing of that na­ture. He’s able to just hang it up when he was ready to hang it up and be at peace with it also — that’s real sweet.”

Hous­ton Rock­ets guard Chris Paul: “D-Wade, I mean he is a brother to me. Ev­ery­thing, from the in­jury he had, we all went to Chicago and worked out with him, to my wed­ding, his wed­ding, birth of our kids. We say it all the time, but we’re not just NBA friends. There’s a lot of guys in this league that are just team­mates or NBA friends. But we all are a lot closer than that.”

Golden State War­riors for­ward Kevin Du­rant: “He’s done so much for the game. He’s such an amaz­ing player and per­son. I’ve been watch­ing him since mid­dle school, and this is one crazy way to go out with an end­ing like [Wade’s mirac­u­lous 3-poin­ter at the buzzer in a 126-125 stun­ner over the War­riors on Feb. 27].”

Golden State War­riors guard Stephen Curry: “There’s some­thing spe­cial about what he did [Feb. 27]. I’d much rather see him jump­ing on the scorer’s ta­ble when we’re not play­ing against him. What he’s done for this city is amaz­ing and I know how much Miami loves him.”

San An­to­nio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: “He cer­tainly is an iconic fig­ure as far as NBA bas­ket­ball goes. It’s not just be­cause the way he played — he played hard, he played to win, he had a fe­ro­cious attitude on the court — but it was matched by a won­der­ful smile and a great un­der­stand­ing of world and com­mu­nity off the court. And that’s what made him so spe­cial.”

Dal­las Mav­er­icks for­ward Dirk Now­itzki: “Af­ter ‘06, we had some frosty times, but I

think that’s way be­hind us. I al­ways say he pushed me to be­come the player in ‘11 to ul­ti­mately win. There was some things said af­ter the ‘06 Fi­nals, and both sides in ‘11. There were some times when we didn’t speak much, but like I said, I al­ways watched from afar and he’s one of the best two-guards to ever play the game.”

NBA com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver: “Dwyane, this sea­son has em­bod­ied what a great cham­pion and am­bas­sador of the game you are. From the way fans at ev­ery arena cel­e­brated you to the play­ers of ev­ery gen­er­a­tion swapped jer­seys, it’s al­ways in­cred­i­ble to see how the young fans and play­ers look up to you. On be­half of the NBA fam­ily, thank you. I look for­ward to seeing you in [the Hall of Fame].”

Philadel­phia 76ers for­ward, for­mer Bulls team­mate and fel­low Mar­quette grad Jimmy But­ler from Wade’s home fi­nale: “That was spe­cial to see my brother

get as much love as he de­serves. He’s one of the great­est to play this game. I’m just so happy he gets to go out on his terms. He’s happy, he’s healthy and he had the whole city be­hind him.”

Ok­la­homa City Thun­der for­ward Paul Ge­orge: “What D-Wade has been in this league is just one of the best per­form­ers, most creative play­ers in our era right now. His cre­ativ­ity with the Euro-step, with up-and-un­ders, I think he’s one of the best minds in bas­ket­ball.”

Wash­ing­ton Wizards guard Bradley Beal: “He’s part of the rea­son that I wear No. 3. For the first time, I told him that [dur­ing the Jan. 4 jersey swap]. I’ve never told him that in all the years that I have played against him. It means a lot to me to be able to have his jersey be­cause he has three cham­pi­onships, he’s one of the best two guards to ever play and I’m happy that I was able to com­pete against him for seven years.”

Bos­ton Celtics for­ward/cen­ter Al Hor­ford: “He’s a win­ner. That’s what I’m go­ing to re­mem­ber about him. How com­pet­i­tive he is. Just how he im­posed his will on games, tak­ing over on the de­fen­sive end, on the of­fen­sive end. That’s some­thing that I’ve al­ways ad­mired about him.”

Los An­ge­les Clip­pers coach and fel­low Mar­quette grad Doc Rivers: “Se­condbest player in Mar­quette his­tory,” he joked. “I have a lot with D-Wade be­cause I’ve known him long be­fore he got to the pros. I al­most thought we had him in Or­lando. He means a lot in a lot of ways. Off the floor, to me, is where he’s stood out more. It’s amaz­ing. As good as he’s been as a player, and he’s been a Hall of Fame [player], he just sets such a great ex­am­ple of how to con­nect your­self off the floor. I would like to say it’s the Mar­quette ed­u­ca­tion, but I don’t think that’s it. I just think it’s who he is.”

Philadel­phia 76ers guard Ben Sim­mons from Wade’s home fi­nale: “He’s a leg­end. So for me just watch­ing him grow up meant a lot to be able to com­pete against him, es­pe­cially in his fi­nal home game. That was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me.”

Cleve­land Cava­liers for­ward/cen­ter and for­mer team­mate Chan­ning Frye: “He’s so crafty, ev­ery­one knows he’s go­ing left and he still goes left and then you think just be­cause he hob­bles around the court that he can’t block shots and sud­denly he has five at the end of the game. Al­ways been a win­ner. I watched him play at Mar­quette shock­ingly and was like, ‘Who is this dude?’ ”

New York Knicks coach and for­mer Heat as­sis­tant David Fiz­dale: “I’ve learned more from him than he has from me. He’s one of those guys that, when he says he’s your friend, he’s go­ing to be there for you, and he’s been there for me ev­ery step of the way. … He’s one of the great­est guards to play this game.”

Mem­phis Griz­zlies guard Avery Bradley, who had hard-fought se­ries with Wade as a mem­ber of the Celtics: “He’s al­ways been one of my fa­vorite play­ers. I never told him that, of course, go­ing up against him. The game’s go­ing to miss him. Wish he could con­tinue to play for­ever.”

New Or­leans Pel­i­cans coach Alvin Gen­try: “I think the No. 1 thing that no one re­ally talks about with him is how he was will­ing to take a step back and make that LeBron’s team. There’s a lot of star play­ers that wouldn’t even con­sider do­ing that, and that shows me that win­ning is the most im­por­tant thing for him and he’s will­ing to sac­ri­fice his game for the bet­ter­ment of the team and the fran­chise. You ad­mire guys like that as a coach.”

MICHAEL LAUGH­LIN/SUN SEN­TINEL

Heat guard Dwyane Wade scores over the Wizards’ Kevin Seraphin dur­ing a game in Fe­bru­ary 2011 at Amer­i­canAir­lines Arena.

JOE CAVARETTA/SUN SEN­TINEL

Wade cel­e­brates the NBA cham­pi­onship with his sons Zaire and Zion in June 2013.

ROBERT MAYER/SUN SEN­TINEL

Wade skies to­ward the rim dur­ing a 2006 NBA play­off games against the Bulls.

MICHAEL LAUGH­LIN/SUN SEN­TINEL

Wade makes an an­gry face af­ter hit­ting a 3-poin­ter against the Mav­er­icks dur­ing the 2011 Fi­nals.

VIC­TOR BALDIZON/GETTY

Wade was the fifth over­all pick by the Heat in the 2003 NBA draft.

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