Terry Rozier says his dream ‘came full circle’ while he reflects on 4 a.m. text to Dwyane Wade

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Rozier’s connection to Dwyane Wade runs deep, so much so that he was able to text the Miami Heat legend at 4 a.m. about a jersey swap during the Hall of Famer’s final NBA season.

Rozier, who was traded to the Heat during this season, recalled the exchange that was made during the 2018-19 NBA campaign while he was with the Boston Celtics and Wade was wrapping up his career with Miami.

“He’s my favorite player, he’s one of the main reasons why I play basketball, he’s who I modeled my game after,” Rozier said. “So it was only right that I got his jersey. That’s probably why I texted him two months before we actually played him. It probably just popped in my mind, but I wanted to make sure we got that out the way before anything. I didn’t want to ask him too late. But I’m glad I did and I’m glad my dream came full circle.”

Then in his fourth NBA season, Rozier made sure to get a jump on his Celtics teammates by reaching out to Wade about the jersey swap well in advance of the teams’ meeting that January.

After being traded to the Heat by the Charlotte Hornets five years later, Rozier immediately endeared himself to Heat fans by invoking Wade’s name.

His connection goes back to idolizing and imitating Wade during his childhood in Cleveland and wearing his famed No. 3 while in high school and with the Hornets (He wore No. 12 with the Celtics because No. 3 was retired by them for Dennis Johnson. Rozier wears jersey No. 2 for Miami).

“I just look back to when I was 6, 7 years old, I was just in the gym by myself,” Rozier said. “Me going to shoot the ball, going to the hole, I used to fall on purpose. I use to try to copy D-Wade, I used to think I was D-Wade all the time. Just fast forward to now, it’s just kind of full circle where I can put on a Heat uniform and I can give the best version of myself.”

The two met and eventually became friends while Rozier was playing for the University of Louisville.

The 30-year-old is doing what he can to live up to Wade’s lofty standards and bring another NBA championship to Miami. He was traded to the Heat in exchange for Kyle Lowry and a draft pick.

In 25 games with Miami, Rozier is averaging 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per contest. He missed just four games in February with a knee injury. After a somewhat difficult start to his Heat tenure, he has posted games of 27, 20 and 24 points this month as they continue to battle to fortify their position in the Eastern Conference.

Miami has won just two of its past five games and four of its past 11, and its 39-33 record has it in seventh place in the conference with 10 games to go. The Heat are just one game behind the Indiana Pacers for sixth place and that guaranteed playoff spot heading into their home game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.