Bam Adebayo has seen up close the influence Dwyane Wade has had on the Miami Heat organization, and the 26-year-old said he would like to have a Heat career similar to that of the franchise icon.
With the Heat about to hold “Dwyane Wade Hall of Fame Night” on Sunday at Kaseya Center, Adebayo said he would like to etch his name alongside Wade’s in the team’s history books.
“It means everything,” Adebayo told the Miami Herald of finishing his career at the top of the Heat’s record books with Wade.
Wade is the Heat’s all-time leader in many statistical categories, including games played, points and assists. He won the NBA championship three times with Miami, in 2006, 2012 and 2013.
Adebayo has helped the Heat reach the NBA Finals in both 2020 and 2023 but has yet to capture the championship.
“I want the moment of being on these walls, championship alley,” Adebayo said. “I want that, so then we can share the opportunity of being like, ‘Alright, you’re No. 1 in this and I’m No. 1 in this. I’m No. 2 in this, you’re No. 2 in this. You got championships, I got championships.’ Those are the fun conversations to have, when you can walk in a room and sit at a table and be like, ‘I know what it feels like to do what a lot of you have you already done.’ And being able to tell your side of that story.”
Wade was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this past summer, an event that Adebayo was invited to attend by his former teammate. He was a young player just starting out in his NBA career when Wade was wrapping up his time in the league.
The guard played in 15 seasons for Miami, while the center is currently in his seventh campaign with the team.
“Being able to be with a franchise as long as you are and, two, being able to bring a championship and being at the top of all the franchise records besides a man who won the first one here,” Adebayo said of having a Heat career like Wade’s. “That’s an opportunity and that’s a blessing.”
Miami is entering the game Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets with a 22-16 record. Adebayo has missed some time due to injury and is averaging 22.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in his 28 appearances. Earlier this season, he credited Wade with advice that has helped him improve his offense.
The University of Kentucky product ranks sixth in franchise history in points, rebounds and blocks, so he certainly has an opportunity to climb nearer to Wade in the record books. Doing so while also adding a championship or two would certainly establish him as a franchise icon as well.
For his part, Wade continues to remain a prominent figure after his playing days. The 41-year-old recently responded to the lucrative contract extension landed by head coach Erik Spoelstra and also was effusive after learning the franchise was going to retire the jersey of former teammate Udonis Haslem.
If Adebayo does indeed follow in Wade’s considerable footsteps, it is likely they will share many more special nights and ceremonies in honor of each other and their teammates.