NBA Teams
Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer 66d

Spurs gift retiring Wade jerseys of franchise icons

NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat

SAN ANTONIO -- There was no need for the customary Dwyane Wade jersey swap on Wednesday night in San Antonio during the latest stop on his farewell tour, as the Spurs presented the future Hall of Famer with the jerseys of their most iconic players in recent history.

After the playing of the national anthem and before tipoff against the Miami Heat, the Spurs showed a tribute video in honor of Wade. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich then presented the veteran guard with the jerseys of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili packaged in a black-and-silver gift box.

"That was dope," Wade said after the Heat's 110-105 win over the Spurs. "I knew from preseason. Pop let me know that they were going to do something for me here. But that was cool. I didn't know it was going to be before the game, and I liked the music swag they had on it, the videos they put up. It was real cool. I'm so thankful, so appreciative. I don't expect those things to happen to me at all. I just come out and do my job every night. I'm thankful for the relationships I have. I have a great one with Coach, and I just appreciate what they did."

"Those are guys I have the utmost respect for with Duncan, Ginobili and Parker," Wade added, "so I appreciate those jerseys."

Popovich walked over to greet Wade after the video in front of the Heat bench, where the coach presented the jerseys before the two shared a brief embrace.

"He certainly is an iconic figure as far as NBA basketball goes," Popovich said before the game. "And it's not just because of the way he played. He played hard. He played to win. He had a ferocious attitude on the court. But it was matched with a wonderful smile and a great understanding of the world and community off the court. I think that's what made him so special -- a coveted teammate, somebody that everybody enjoyed playing with, a guy that cared about more than just basketball. That's what makes him iconic in my mind."

In addition to Wade's various on-court highlights, the Spurs showcased his work off the court during the video tribute, which lasted just short of two minutes and ended with: "Thank you, Dwyane." It also featured the song "The Glory" by Kanye West and the lyrics: "In two years Dwyane Wayne became Dwyane Wade."

Wade did swap jerseys with Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan after the game, with the two autographing long notes to each other.

The other Spurs jerseys Wade received were not signed, but the organization offered to have them signed by Duncan, Ginobili and Parker and sent to him.

Wade, playing off the bench, had 11 points, two rebounds and no assists in 20 minutes. Entering Wednesday night, he was averaging 14.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 25.6 minutes in 60 games this season.

After the contest in San Antonio on Wednesday, just 11 regular-season games remain in Wade's career.

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