Dwyane Wade recently said he could still be playing in the NBA if not for the injuries he had. He also said that if he could have continued his career, he would be mentioned in any greatest player of all time (G.O.A.T.) conversation.
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Wade was asked by Shannon Sharpe where he would be without a knee injury sustained in college and two knee surgeries in the NBA.
“You doing your G.O.A.T. conversation with me,” Wade said to Sharpe. “… Like I said, we talking about ifs. You take away the injuries away, I’m still playing basketball right now if I want to, right? Because it’s the injuries and everything and the mental, right? But if I’m healthy enough — you gotta understand something about my game, multiple ways, right? I played the game multiple ways, so even right now, as I got older, I had another game that still was effective as an old player.
“So in my mind, you mothaf—— right. I was one of them dudes. You couldn’t tell me in ’06, ’07, ’08 that I wasn’t going on to where I wanted to go, right? Why not? The league is not hard for me. I’m averaging 30 a game in the NBA.”
The No. 5 overall pick from the 2003 NBA Draft, Wade played 16 seasons in the NBA, his first 13 with the Miami Heat before ending his career with them in 2019. A three-time NBA champion with Miami (2006, 2012 and 2013), Wade was MVP of the 2006 NBA Finals and named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
He was selected to 13 NBA All-Star Games and went 22-10 in the 32 playoff series in which his teams participated.
Wade will deservingly be enshrined into the Hall of Fame in August, securing his immortality in the game, and his status among its greatest players ever isn’t really worthy of debate.
He is entering the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, joining former teammates Chris Bosh, Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille O’Neal, with LeBron James certain to join Wade at some point. Now 41 years old, Wade played his final season in the 2018-19 campaign, when he averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game coming off the bench for the Heat.
For his career, Wade is 32nd in NBA history in points, 47th in assists and 31st in steals. To Sharpe’s point, it is fair to speculate what those numbers and rankings may have looked like if not for the knee troubles, shoulder and elbow injuries Wade encountered during his career, starting at Marquette University.
James and Kobe Bryant are among Wade’s contemporaries in the G.O.A.T. conversation, thought it might be difficult to rank Wade above them. But at his peak, Wade certainly was among the best players of his generation.