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Dwyane Wade given Heat statue, donates $3 million to Marquette
(Credit: Ebony Cox/ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK)

Dwyane Wade given Heat statue, donates $3 million to Marquette

MILWAUKEE (BVM) – During the Miami Heat’s home game against the Charlotte Hornets Sunday night, the organization surprised legendary guard Dwyane Wade with the announcement that he would be the first player in franchise history to be turned into a statue outside of the team’s arena. That was followed up Monday when, following a $3 million donation to Marquette University, the school announced it would name its new men’s basketball practice court after the famous alumnus.

 Wade said it best himself.

“It’s a great way to start a 42nd birthday week,” Wade said during a halftime press conference at Marquette men’s basketball game against Villanova Monday.

It was a whirlwind 24 hours for the Basketball Hall of Famer who turns 42 on January 17. While the announced donation had been planned for months, Wade was caught off guard by the Heat’s statue announcement the night before.

“This was something we put on the calendar a while ago that January 15 I would be at this game,” Wade said. “This means so much to me. My basketball career and everything, my body of work and everything I accomplished, to be able to ball that up and present that as a statue at the end of it, I mean how many people get to leave the game and become a statue? I’m very thankful for that.”

At Marquette, Wade’s $3 million donation will be used to extend the Tragil Wade-Johnson Summer Reading Program, establish the Wade Scholars and support a new men’s basketball practice facility in a future expansion of the Athletic and Human Performance Research Center on campus.

“Giving back has always been in our DNA as a family and we all do it in our different ways with our different foundations because we all know where we come from,” Wade said. “To be here, coming into Marquette in 2000 and now it’s 2024, I never even envisioned I’d be on the donor side of things so it’s pretty cool.”

The summer reading program, which launched in 2015, is a four-week program that places students into small groups where they receive 90 minutes of targeted reading instruction each day in addition to writing and integrated science and literacy instruction. Meanwhile, the Wade Scholars program will benefit low-income, high-achieving students by providing two students per year full room and board scholarships for their first two years at the university.

“I’ve always talked about when the door opens, not squeezing through that door and letting it close behind me, holding it open,” Wade said. “This is an opportunity to hold that door open for the next generation.”

Though Wade cannot believe he is in the position to have his name on the team’s future practice court, he wants it to serve as more than just a reminder of one of the school’s best to ever play.

“Practice is where my money was made and where my legacy was built,” Wade said. “For each kid that will come through this university, to be able to see that name on that court, hopefully that’s the message.”

Dwyane Wade Marquette Golden Eagles basketball
Feb 7, 2007; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade reacts as his Marquette jersey is unveiled and retired, with his wife, Siohvaughn, and son, Daire, who reacts with surprise, during half time of a game between Marquette and Providence at the Bradley Center. Wade’s alma mater won 69-62. (Credit: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK)

Of course, having his name on scholarship opportunities and the hardwood of the new practice facility is just part of Wade’s goal. He wants his donation to be about more than his exploits in basketball.

“[We wanted to] Try to make sure this gift was impactful, not only to the basketball community,” Wade said. “But also to follow that with the Wade Scholars. Really giving the opportunity for a diverse community to be able to be here and be able to have the same education experience not only I had but so many others.”

While Wade acknowledged that the birthdays between 40 and 45 usually aren’t that exciting, given the presents he received this past week, the Hall of Famer may be hard-pressed to have a more memorable birthday celebration than this one.