Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade is basking in the adulation of fellow players during the buildup to his last appearance in the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night.
One of those players is Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who took time on Friday to express his thoughts on the pending retirement of the Heat legend.
Mitchell, who competed in Friday night’s Rising Stars Challenge, spoke about the similarity of their games and how Wade has served as a role model both on and off the court:
— Greg Sylvander (@GregSylvander) February 15, 2019
“With Dwyane, man, you know, I went to the One Last Dance dinner last night and it was just sad for me. You know, growing up you watch him, they showed a video and I didn’t realize how many moments, how many plays we kind of like, ‘Man, I kind of do that.’ I never realized how close, you know, similar we are as players.
“Like I said, I’ve always gone to him for advice for whatever it is just asking him about life in this league. He won a championship in his third season. That’s extremely impressive. That’s one thing I’ve always really wanted to ask him about. As a young man, a young player in this league, he got the respect from guys like Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal), Tim Hardaway, Caron Butler. That’s impressive, that’s hard to do as a young guy, so for me to try and find ways to better myself and this being his last All-Star Game, it’s sad to see him go, but you know, I think he’ll go out with a bang this year.”
The 37-year-old Wade, who’s in his 16th season, will be competing in his 13th and final All-Star Game, while the 22-year-old Mitchell is only in his second season.
In his second season, Mitchell is averaging 22.4 points, 4.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds, while Wade began averaging over 20 points per game during his second season in 2004-05. In that campaign, he averaged 24.1 points, 6.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds, the first of nine consecutive years in which he’d break the 20-points-per-game average.
Mitchell has yet to be part of a championship team with the Jazz, but is still young enough to be a key part of a title team down the road. His willingness to listen to the wisdom dispensed by Wade is one thing working in his favor in that department.