Dwyane Wade will be an All-Star, after all.
Taking the decision to a higher level after fans, media, players and coaches had their say in filling out the 12-player rosters for the Feb. 17 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, Silver on Friday named the Miami Heat icon as well as Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki as “special team roster additions” for the league’s annual showcase, giving each roster a 13th player.
Wade, 37, has announced that this 16th NBA season will be his last. Nowitzki has yet to commit to his future.
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 said it was simply the right thing to do, rather than wait to add Wade as a potential injury replacement.
“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. “As a global celebration of basketball, our All-Star Game is an ideal setting to salute these first-class NBA champions and Finals MVPs.”
Nowitzki and Wade will be selected in a new third round of the 2019 NBA All-Star Draft, adding a 13th player to each active All-Star Game roster. The format of the draft should allow Wade one final opportunity to play as a teammate of former Heat championship teammate LeBron James, who along with Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will draft All-Star units for teams bearing their last names. James will get to make the choice of whether Wade is on his team.
Wade had placed second in fan balloting for All-Star starters, but that voting only counted as 50 percent of the equation, with the media and players each having 25-percent input. That math left Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker as the starting backcourt selections from the Eastern Conference.
Conference coaches then selected the seven reserves from each conference, with Wade bypassed among Eastern Conference backcourt reserves in favor of Victor Oladipo, Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal and Ben Simmons.
Until Silver’s Friday decision, Wade’s best path to the event appeared to be as an injury replacement for Oladipo, who is sidelined with a season-ending quadriceps injury. Such a decision, however, could have meant bypassing Eastern Conference guards having better seasons, with D’Angelo Russell instead getting that spot.
The Heat had faced the possibility of going without a representative at All-Star Weekend for the first time since 2017, with no Heat player selected for the Rookie Challenge and the team likely not to have a participant in the All-Star Saturday skills competitions.
Guard Goran Dragic represented the Heat at last season’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles, as an injury replacement.
Wade entered this season as a 12-time NBA All-Star selection, which included his MVP performance in the 2010 All-Star Game and a triple-double in the 2012 All-Star Game.
Wade is a three-time NBA champion and a 2008 Olympic gold medalist with USA Basketball. He earned the 2006 Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award after leading the Heat to their first NBA title, later winning championships with the Heat in 2012 and ’13 alongside James and Chris Bosh.
An eight-time All-NBA Team selection and three-time NBA All-Defensive Team member, Wade has joined James and Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to record at least 20,000 points, 5,000 assists, 4,000 rebounds, 1,500 steals, 800 blocked shots and 500 three-pointers.
The 2008-09 NBA scoring champion, Wade ranks 30th on the league’s career points list. The Chicago native is the Heat’s franchise leader in points, assists, steals, field goals made, free throws made and games played.
Wade has been honored several times by the NBA for his dedication to community outreach, most recently receiving the March 2018 NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his support of students and the Parkland, community after the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He also was honored with the 2012-13 NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his Wade’s World Foundation’s efforts to support community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for at-risk children.
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