Dwyane Wade’s Heat tribute to be crafted by sculptors of Michael Jordan’s iconic United Center statue

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NEW YORK — For Dwyane Wade, there will be nothing short of iconic treatment when it comes to the bronze statue of the team’s Hall of Fame guard the Miami Heat plan to unveil next fall.

Sculpting the first such player tribute in the franchise’s 36 seasons will be Omri Amrany and Oscar León of Fine Art Studio Rotblatt Amrany, the same pair who sculpted the Michael Jordan statue at Chicago’s United Center. They also designed the statue of Dirk Nowitzki for the Dallas Mavericks and crafted pieces of Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar that sit outside of the Los Angeles Lakers’ arena.

“We are honored and excited to capture the essence of Dwyane Wade,” Amrany and León said in a statement issued after the Heat surprised Wade on Sunday with the announcement of their latest tribute to the franchise’s all-time scoring leader. “It is a privilege for both the athlete to be immortalized and for us, as artists, to create a statue that celebrates a lifetime of excellence. We dreamed about this for many years and now, it’s a reality!”

The NBA has a legacy of such tributes at or near arenas, with the Heat now to enter that realm.

Already in place in NBA cities are statues honoring Bill Russell, Red Auerbach, Larry Bird (Boston); O’Neal, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles); Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston); Tim Duncan (San Antonio); Julius Erving, Wilt Chamberlain, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley (Philadelphia); Karl Malone, John Stockton (Utah); Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta); George Mikan (Minneapolis)l and Reggie Miller (Indianapolis).

Heat president Pat Riley kept his Sunday announcement secret from most in the organization, leaving more than just Wade surprised.

“Goosebumps,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the halftime moment at Kaseya Center. “I was just like, ‘Whoa. I definitely wasn’t expecting that.’ He shocked Dwyane. I loved seeing Dwyane have that really sincere, really genuine reaction to it, where he was speechless.”

It ultimately became a moment of celebration for the current Heat roster, as well, with several having been Wade teammates with the Heat.

“It just shows the effect he’s had, not only on the organization, but the community as a whole,” center Bam Adebayo said, with the Heat on Monday night opening a two-game trip at Barclays Center against the Brooklyn Nets that concludes Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors. “They call it ‘Wade County’ for a reason and he’ll be stamped in this city forever, and he’ll be one of those people we always talk about.”

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It also offered incentive.

“I want one,” Adebayo said with a smile. “Who wouldn’t?”

To Wade, being honored from within, as he was in August with his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, is what makes moments such as Sunday’s statue announcement particularly meaningful.

“When people asked me what I wanted when my career was over, I always said I wanted respect,” he said. “I wanted the respect of my peers most importantly, peers before me, peers after me and peers at the same time. I’ve had that constant respect, and I appreciate that. That to me feels greater than anything, when your peers give you that.”

Love stays back

After initially saying Kevin Love would travel for Monday night’s game, the veteran big man instead remained behind in Miami due to the knee bruise that kept him out of Sunday night’s victory over the Charlotte Hornets. He has not formally been ruled out of Wednesday night’s game.

The Heat also are without two-way players Jamal Cain and RJ Hampton. Those two have been sent to the G League, but the Sioux Falls Skyforce’s Monday game outside of Dallas was postponed because of Skyforce weather-related travel issues, rescheduled for next month.

The Skyforce also announced the addition of Houston Rockets 2021 first-round pick Josh Christoper. The 6-foot-4 guard who also has been with the Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz is available to be signed by any NBA team.

Adebayo honored

Adebayo on Monday was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday. He averaged 23 points, 11 rebounds and 5.8 assists, with the Heat 3-1 over the selection period.

It is the second time the Heat center has been named in his career. He also was named East Player of the Week on Dec. 25, 2019.

Adebayo became the first Heat player so honored since Jimmy Butler on Oct. 31, 2021, and joins Butler, Wade, Rony Seikaly, Alonzo Mourning, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Goran Dragic as the only players to win multiple such honors with the Heat.

Utah’s Lauri Markkanen named from West.