Sacramento Kings

‘The fan love was amazing’: How the Kings said goodbye to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade

Kings take the lead late in fourth to down the Heat 102-96

New Kings Harrison Barnes and Alec Burks contribute in Kings win over the Miami Heat 102-96.
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New Kings Harrison Barnes and Alec Burks contribute in Kings win over the Miami Heat 102-96.

Dwyane Wade didn’t have the most memorable sendoff in his final game against the Kings.

The guard, in his 16th and final year, had to leave the game with an injury after a scary fall, but he returned only to see his Miami Heat blow a 17-point lead as Sacramento rallied for a 102-96 victory Friday night at Golden 1 Center.

Wade – who finished with 15 points, four rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes off the bench – walked off the court late in the first quarter after taking a nasty fall which ended with him hitting the back of his head on the floor.

After being checked for a concussion, he returned to the game with 4:35 to play in the half.

Wade was grateful for the reception he got from Kings fans.

“It was great coming here for my last time. The fan love was amazing,” Wade said. “I’m appreciative of that and they have a good young team to root for and if they keep this core together, keep adding good veterans like they did, they’ll be an exciting team to watch for a while.”

After the game he had some friendly interaction with Kings players, including swapping jerseys with Frank Mason III and autographing shoes for Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield, who scored a game-high 23 points in the win.

“Oh, it’s special,” Hield said about playing against Wade. “He might score on me a bunch, but he’s a Hall of Famer, he’s a legend, he’s a hero.”

He continued about the influence Wade had on him as a youth.

“I can’t lie and say I wasn’t in the driveway shooting Dwyane Wade fadeaways,” Hield said. “He won’t be forgotten.”

Wade, 37, will call it a career after this season. The 12-time All-Star has three championship rings, all with Miami, where he’s played most of his NBA seasons. He spent all of 2016-17 with his hometown Chicago Bulls and played 46 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season before being traded back to the Heat.

One the newest Kings was complimentary of Wade.

“He’s a future Hall of Famer for a reason,” Kings guard Alec Burks said. “He’s done a lot for the game, on and off the court, and deserves everything he’s got. I wish the best for him.”

Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.