For Dwyane Wade, the NBA made an exception.
Even after being left off the original list of All-Stars, NBA commissioner Adam Silver named Wade and Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki as “special team roster additions” for the Feb. 17 All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It will mark Wade’s 13th All-Star appearance in 16 NBA seasons, and his final one before he retires at the end of the season. Nowitzki has yet to announce his plans following this season.
“I thought it was great,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Silver’s decision to add Wade to the All-Star Game. “Very cool.”
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In a statement, the league announced, “In honor of their extraordinary contributions as iconic NBA champions and beloved ambassadors and in recognition of their All-Star careers, Nowitzki and Wade will take the court for the 68th NBA All-Star Game.”
Silver believes it was the right thing to do.
“Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade embody the best of the NBA: remarkable skill, drive and professionalism as well as a deep devotion to strengthening their communities and growing the game around the world,” Silver said in a statement released by the NBA. “As a global celebration of basketball, our All-Star Game is an ideal setting to salute these first-class NBA champions and Finals MVPs.”
The news comes after Wade, 37, was not selected as one of the seven All-Star reserves from the Eastern Conference. He was close to making it as an All-Star starter because he received the second-most fan votes among Eastern Conference guards behind only Boston’s Kyrie Irving, but he finished sixth in both the player and media vote to fall just short.
Wade has made it clear throughout the process he did not want to take an All-Star spot from a player who deserved it just because it’s the final season of his Hall of Fame career, and he didn’t. Silver added Wade and Nowitzki as a 13th player to each active All-Star Game roster, which usually carries 12 players.
“If I’m choosing an All-Star, I’m not picking me,” Wade said last week. “It’s not an indictment on anything, but guys that deserve to be All-Stars will be All-Stars. … There’s a lot of guys that get their first chance to be All-Stars, and if they deserve it then they deserve it and they should have those spots.”
The next question is, which All-Star team will Wade play on — Team LeBron or Team Giannis? As the All-Star starter from each conference who received the most fan votes in his conference, Lakers forward LeBron James and Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will serve as captains in the All-Star Draft that will be televised by TNT on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
Wade and Nowitzki will be selected in a new third round of the draft. James and Antetokounmpo will select the 10 All-Star Game starters in the first round, the 14 reserves in the second round and Wade and Nowitzki in the third round.
Either way, the All-Star Game gives Wade one final opportunity to share an NBA court with James, with the Lakers and Heat already done facing each other this season.
Wade entered Friday’s game against the Thunder averaging 13.8 points on 42.7 percent shooting and 4.3 assists in 39 games this season.
The addition of Wade means the Heat will be represented during All-Star Weekend. As of Friday, he is the only Heat player participating in an All-Star event this year. The participants for the Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest will be announced Tuesday.
The only time Miami has been completely shut out of All-Star weekend since 2000 was in 2017.