Somewhat lost in the ongoing tributes to the late-great Kobe Bryant is the fact that Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade is being celebrated for his own career this month. The three-time NBA champion saw his No. 3 jersey retired this weekend, and had an emotional speech prepared for the occasion. But the former NBA superstar wasn't about to let his big moment pass without a tribute of his own for the Black Mamba.
Speaking to a capacity crowd at the American Airline Arena last night, Wade said that Kobe told him that the most important thing he could do was to try and inspire others. He expressed his hope that he heeded Kobe's advice and served as an inspiration to others.
Wade and the Heat battled Kobe and the Lakers on many occasions, though never in the playoffs. But they were teammates on several Olympic teams, and captured gold at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
In 17 NBA seasons, Wade made 13 All-Star games, made eight All-NBA teams, and won many other accolades.
"Kobe said the most important thing is to try to inspire others so they can be great in whatever they try to do. I hope I inspired you. Thank you for making me a part of your legacy. Please know you're a huge part of mine."
After the speech, Wade spoke to the media and explained that Kobe's tragic passing "put a lot of things into perspective." He said that with the incredible life Kobe was leading after basketball, he hoped he could try and emulate it.
"The impact that the passing of Kobe has done on myself and so many others is it's made us sit down and stop. Life goes so fast. We move at a rapid pace. It's made me enjoy the moment more. It's made me want to create more memories. It definitely put a lot of things in perspective...
"Kobe was leading the way -- he retired and showed us in his next act after retirement that you can master that, as well... He was showing us the way, and now we don't have that. So I do have a responsibility to be that guy and show the way for the next generation."
Much like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when the time comes.
What did you think of Dwayne Wade's Kobe Bryant tribute?