Downtown Miami hosted a historic event Monday night: Dwyane Wade played his very last home game for the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena.
The 37-year-old shooting guard announced last year that he would retire from the NBA at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Despite the rain, fans from all walks of life did not mind waiting in line Monday. They overflowed into the streets beginning at 4 p.m. (tip off time was 7:30 p.m.).
"I wanted to share the same space as Wade," said Paul Stevens, who traveled from Decatur, Alabama, with his wife for the game. “He’s just one of my favorite basketball players ... it will be hard to replace somebody like that.”
Wade, who is originally from Chicago, has always been seen as a native Miamian, having positively impacted the community in a number of ways, from charity events to speaking out publicly on social issues. Fort Lauderdale resident Debbie Miller said she was thankful for all Wade has done for the Stoneman Douglas community in the aftermath of the shooting there in February 2018.
“My three sons went to Stoneman Douglas and he has had a really big impact on the students," Miller said. "You can just tell what a genuine person he is. He’s got the Miami heart for sure.”
On the street, fans shouted as they stood in line. “It’s Wade county!"
"He has brought so much to our city,” said Miami native Omarion Langanson.
On Wednesday night Wade plays for the Miami Heat for the last time as they take on the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.