For an NBA player, 30 years old is a landmark in your career.
After playing for at least eight years, the age of 30 is supposed to represent the beginning of the downfall of your career. The athleticism you possessed in your youth and finally blending the mental part of the game with the physical from the age of 27 to 29 is gone, as you now embark on the decline of your career.
Dwyane Wade doesn't seem to be that type of player. Even though injuries have played a key part, which they still do, Wade has managed to defy the odds by not only being relevant, but by maintaining an elite status.
For you see, not many people had Wade recovering from all of those injuries he suffered throughout the early portion of his career following the completion of the 2007-'08 season. However, after training with Tim Grover and having an unbelievable showing at the 2008 Olympics, where he led the United States in scoring, Wade returned with a vengeance.
Now combined with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Wade once again finds his team reigning supreme near the top of the NBA, much like how his team was in 2005 and 2006. He also finds himself in more highlight plays than ever before as he thrives off of his superstar teammates.
The Heat took a trick out of the Boston Celtics' sleeve on this play.
In 2009, the Celtics were down by two points with .6 seconds left against the Heat. There was hardly any time to get a decent look, so the only possible way to get a good look was for an alley-oop. Somehow they made it happen, as Rajon Rondo completed the alley-oop to tie it at the buzzer.
Fast forward to 2011 and the Heat are in a similar position with the game tied at 101 apiece against an upstart Minnesota team. While there's still six seconds remaining, the Heat wanted the quickest and easiest way to score.
Going through a series of screens, Wade loses his man and gets a wide open look at the rim to complete the alley-oop and give the Heat a 103-101 lead, and the eventual victory.
An underrated poster dunk in the catalog of Dwyane Wade throwdown's is his dunk over the top of 6'9" forward Brandan Wright.
It certainly wasn't the prettiest dunk, but Wade made sure that his impression was felt all over his opponents head.
Despite losing the handle on his drive, Wade would still manage to go vertical and dunk all over the unsuspecting Wright. Dwyane was so fast with his jump that Wright never stood a chance at blocking the shot.
Did the Los Angeles Clippers believe that Dwyane Wade was going to allow them to go into the half with the lead?
They should have known better.
After the Clippers scored on the previous end, the ball was quickly outlet to Wade, who was already beyond half-court with only center Chris Kaman in his way.
Wade was too fast for Kaman to react, and he dunked past the seven-foot center to tie the game going into the half.
Dwyane Wade has always proven to be as good a passer of alley-oop's as well as he's been known as a receiver.
Early on in a game against Greece during the 2008 Olympics, Wade used his defensive awareness to intercept a pass between two Greek's. After knocking it away and noticing it about to go out of bounds, Wade quickly throw's the pass towards the rim, where it is caught by Kobe Bryant, who finishes the insane alley-oop.
Take note that Wade is running with full momentum and is about 30 feet away from the rim, to understand the degree of difficulty.
From 2006 to 2008, Dwyane Wade just couldn't stay healthy.
He only played 51 games in the 2006-'07 and 2007-'08 campaigns due to various injuries to his shoulder, wrist and knees. It greatly limited him throughout those two seasons, and it was even believed that he would not be the same player that he was in the championship.
Shades of those injuries do persist, as you can tell by the flatness of the arc in his free throws, but you can't tell by the way he still soars with the NBA's best athletes.
This highlight is from one of Wade's first games back following a serious surgery. Even though he was advised not to dunk prior to their meeting with the Indiana Pacers, Wade heeded the advice and gave us an incredible play, where he dunks over Mike Dunleavy to give the Heat a three point lead with 43.7 seconds remaining.
Dwyane Wade simply isn't afraid to take on players who are much larger than him at the rim.
Take, for instance, this particular play during the Heat's 2009 postseason series against the Atlanta Hawks. Even though the Heat would lose in seven games, the series would also be remembered for Wade's exceptional play, where he averaged 29 points, five boards and five assists per.
He made his presence truly felt when he drove down the lane, received a pass, and dunked over the top of Hawks power forward/center Al Horford with the foul.
After sending his team to overtime with two free throws, Dwyane Wade made sure that he decided the outcome in overtime.
Sure enough, he got that chance. In a game tied at 105 apiece, the ball was inbounded to Wade. Despite being defended by a solid defender in Raja Bell, Wade would quickly lose him on a sick crossover that would give him the space he needed.
Wade pump faked, shot it over the outstretched hands of Bell, and watched as it swirled around the rim before finally dropping to give the Heat a 107-105 victory.
If you watch the dunk, you will actually see Kyrylo Fesenko attempting to drag Dwyane Wade down by his jersey.
It's not like he had a choice, as the battle was already won by Wade once he put on the move to have Fesenko going in a different direction.
As dirty a play as it was, Wade made perfectly sure to make the Russian know how he truly felt about getting grabbed on what could have been an ugly ending.
Well, this is in the 2004-'05 season when Garnett was 28 years old and in the midst of averaging 22 points, 14 boards, and two blocks per.
Wade was only in his second year when he completed this dunk, as he took advantage of his defender sleeping, drove into the lane, received the pass, and dunked past the player who had won the NBA MVP the year before.
In a game that was already decided between the United States and Turkey in an exhibition match-up, Dwyane Wade decided that he didn't have enough fun in a drubbing, where the Americans were up by 30 for most of the night.
After receiving a pass, Wade quickly ran into the teeth of the Turkish defense. He starts off by bringing the ball above his defender's head and then throwing the dunk down before another defender could have something to say about it.
One of NBA history's greatest shot blocking guards, Dwyane Wade decided to take a break off of blocking players much taller than him by sending back the shots of a smaller player.
Tony Parker is only two inches shorter than Wade, but you wouldn't have guessed it if I didn't tell you because Dwyane makes himself seem like 6'6" in this sequence of events.
In a game that was only decided by six points at the time, Wade potentially blocking four points was critical to the Heat's success at that juncture of the game.
You're 22 years old and you're in your first playoff game. The game is tied at 79 apiece and the coach looks towards you to take the final shot. How exactly do you handle that responsibility as a kid who only had 82 games of NBA experience until that point?
You handle it like Dwyane Wade would: cool, calm and collected. You play the game as it's always played and pay no mind to the circumstances that lie afterwards if you fail.
Players that always seem to come up big in these types of situations emit this feeling of confidence every time they have the ball in their hands. By their body language, you can tell just how willing the player is when they're going in to take the big shot.
Wade went into that tie with nothing but confidence, and it paid off. He used a crossover to elude his first defender in Baron Davis, which allowed a wide open lane to the rim. Continuing his drive, Wade would quickly float the shot over the outstretched hands of Hornets center Jamaal Magloire. The shot fell in to give the Heat an 81-79 lead, and the victory.
The series would be decided in seven games to show off the importance of that game winner.
No NBA player can split a double team like Dwyane Wade.
When healthy, Wade is one of the league's fastest, most agile, and strongest players for a man of his size at 6'4'', 220 pounds.
In this particular instance, Wade uses a quick crossover and a change of speed and direction in order to split the double created by two Charlotte Bobcats.
After eluding those two, Wade then drives in and slams it over center Emeka Okafor for one of his nastiest posters.
Prior to the Heat's acquisition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Wade had a habit of taking on entire defense's and somehow coming out as the victor.
This play would be a perfect example, as Wade takes on three different players before dunking on all of them. The 6'4" Wade dunked over 6'6" Brandon Rush, 6'10" Josh McRoberts, and 6'11" Troy Murphy all in one play.
One of the first posters of Dwyane Wade's legendary career turns out to be one of his best, as he slams it over the top of forward Christian Laettner.
Laettner must not have enjoyed being on the opposite end of that poster too much because he would end up becoming Wade's teammate the next year.
Prior to all the injuries he dealt with between 2006 and 2008, Wade basically didn't care about the toll that his body took.
He still goes to the rim with reckless abandon, but not as prolific and prevalent as he did early on in his NBA career. Wade constantly found himself lying down on the court after a drive because of just how hard he took it to the rim.
This particular play is probably a key reason as to why he was ineffective for two consecutive seasons. Wade absorbs some contact with Antonio McDyess, and with his back to the rim, throws in the blind lay in for the three-point play.
It seems to be a rite of passage for every elite player to dunk over Tim Duncan before they can become anointed as elite.
Wade only needed a season before he took his rite of passage. Dwyane split the double team at the top of the perimeter and only saw Duncan on his way towards the rim.
He didn't let that deter him, as you can so clearly tell.
For centuries, man has attempted to incorporate two of life's greatest things, the windmill dunk and the alley-oop, into a successful hybrid that would triumph over any innovation that was conceived as a physical or mental being.
We no longer have to wait, for Dwyane Wade was able to accomplish the feat of receiving an alley-oop and then windmilling it for the dunk in an exhibition game against Lithuania in 2008.
This might rival the Renaissance.
As I stated before, the passer never gets the credit in the completion of the alley-oop, even though a failed alley-oop all comes crashing down upon the passer.
In the longest recorded alley-oop in NBA history, Wade stands underneath the basket of the Indiana Pacers after a missed three-pointer and proceeds to look down towards the other end of the court. He then sends a pass that would make Aaron Rodgers jealous towards a streaking LeBron James, who completes the dunk with a lay in.
Thank goodness it was a lay in. If James would have dunked it, the world might have collapsed into itself.
If we were to include every one of Wade's unbelievable blocks on power forwards and centers, it would fill out the majority of this list, so we'll just save it for one slide instead.
Take notice of Wade's clutch block on the seven-foot Brook Lopez before you also take in his block on Tyson Chandler, J.J. Hickson, Spencer Hawes, Dwight Howard, Tyson Chandler again, Spencer Hawes again, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard once more, and Vladimir Radmanovic.
I'll give you some time before you move on to the next slide.
In the 2003-'04 season, there weren't many who believed that the Miami Heat would end up as a No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Sure enough, they did, and they wouldn't stop there, as they'd defeat the New Orleans Hornets in five games to get a berth to the second round. Unfortunately, they would be taking on the 61-win, No. 1 seed Indiana Pacers.
Led by the likes of Jermaine O'Neal, Al Harrington, and Ron Artest, the Pacers were in heavy contention for an NBA championship. However, before then they'd have to relinquish a tough road block in the Heat.
The Heat may have won 19 fewer games, but they didn't show it. After losing the first two in Indiana, the Heat would battle back to win the next two in Miami. The Pacers would use stingy defense over the next two games to escape with a series win.
Of course, nobody remembers that. What everybody remembers is a rookie Dwyane Wade going over the top and dunking over a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in center Jermaine O'Neal. It was one of the first memories of Wade's insane athleticism and his ability to completely change the momentum of a game on his own accord.
The alley-oop passer never seems to get the credit that they deserve when the actual alley-oop is completed. People only seem to marvel at the dunk, even though the pass is just as difficult to throw than it is to catch and finish.
Dwyane Wade made perfectly sure to show off how impressive an alley-oop pass can be.
In an already decided game between the Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade decided to get a little fancy. With Sasha Pavlovic attempting to deter him and send him out of bounds, Wade simply dribbled around the back of the poor defender before throwing up the 35-foot alley-oop to Shaquille O'Neal.
I wish I could leave this slide blank because words can't begin to describe the play that we just saw by Dwyane Wade.
Literally, Wade takes on an entire team. He starts off by splitting the double team at the top of the perimeter, side steps the third defender, maneuvers around the fourth, and then completes the play with a left-handed bank around the fifth and final defender.
Understand it was the Chicago Bulls of old, but that doesn't diminish anything at all.
For nearly two decades, the Miami Heat held the record for the team with the most losses to start a season. With 17 consecutive losses to start off their season in the inaugural year, the Heat were immortalized for quite some time with one of the NBA's most embarrassing records.
In 2009, the New Jersey Nets came to town riding a losing streak. They had yet to win that year and many speculated that they would become the team to break the Heat's record on account of how badly they were losing their games.
It seemed as if that streak was set to be broken, as the Nets held an 80-78 lead with four seconds remaining. The ball was given to Wade, who would dribble out to the three-point line. He had no intention of driving and sending this game to overtime—it was do or die from 25-feet out.
Despite losing the handle and being draped by his defender, Wade threw up the shot and nailed it from beyond the arc to give the Heat a one-point lead with a tenth of a second remaining to give the Heat the win.
Sure enough, the Nets would lose 18 straight.
No, he's not being cocky by dancing afterwards, so put your conspiracy theories to rest for now.
The dance at the end was the "cabbage patch," which was a simple dance move created in a time known as the 1980's. Wade used it as an homage to teammate Juwan Howard and the "Fab Five," who had a documentary released earlier in the week.
As for the dunk itself, it's nothing less than incredible. He starts off by crossing over James Harden, spins around renowned shot blocker Serge Ibaka, and then dunks over a terrific defensive center in Kendrick Perkins, a player who has long given Dwyane Wade problems in the past.
You'd dance, too, if you were able to complete such a move.
One of the most underrated game winners in Dwyane Wade's resume, Wade made perfectly sure to showcase his elite status at Madison Square Garden.
Like so many elite players in the past, Wade made his impression felt at the Garden. However, unlike Kobe, who dropped 61, and LeBron, who dropped 52, Dwyane wasn't going to let his stats do the talking. Instead, he was going to let his mentality create a lasting memory of the Garden.
The game is tied at 96 apiece, and the sellout crowd is looking on with suspense and anticipation on whether or not they'd be playing another five minutes. Wade would end up making that decision for them.
Draped with Trevor Ariza on him, Wade uses a quick step-back move to elude his defender for a moment to get the 20-foot shot off. Dwyane unleashes the shot and watches as the ball swishes through to give the Heat a 98-96 victory at the buzzer.
Dwyane Wade somehow has this knack for making the seemingly impossible, possible.
Take, for instance, this play against the Phoenix Suns.
Nearing the end of the third quarter in a game that was still within reach, Amare Stoudemire took a pass and attempted to make a short jumper over a Heat defender.
That was before Wade decided to block the shot of the 6'10" power forward, and then proceed to take a few dribbles to the 70-foot mark, where he would then fling the desperation shot at the buzzer.
Of course, you know what happens next.
It was only fitting that Dwyane Wade would end up being the one to make or break the Heat's NBA championship dreams.
After leading his team from the brink, Wade and the Heat still weren't out of the woods, as they found themselves behind by two points with 10 seconds remaining. The ball was inbounded to Wade, who would use a screen to lose his initial defender.
Driving right, Wade bodied his defender, sent him sprawling to the court, and nailed the wide open bank shot to tie the game with 2.8 seconds remaining.
The game would be sent to overtime, and the Heat would win 101-100 courtesy of two late free throws by Wade.
When you were a Miami Heat fan prior to the arrival of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, this sequence of events could not have been written more in your favor.
Not only does LeBron James have his dunk blocked by Jermaine O'Neal, but you then follow that up with one of the most ferocious and devastating poster dunks you have ever seen and will see in an NBA game.
When you see Anderson Varejao fly back and get a whiff of his junk on account of the intensity and momentum that Wade was carrying, take note that he was dunked on by somebody six inches shorter and 10 pounds lighter than him.
Also, Mike Epps.
Scoring 45 points up until that point, Dwyane Wade decided that he hadn't done enough for the Miami Heat in their closely contested game against the Chicago Bulls.
Wearing across a full 48 minutes and two overtime periods with the high possibility of a third one, Wade made it perfectly sure that he, as well as the entire city of Miami, was going to sleep soon and with a smile on their face.
He starts off by making the smart inbound play of denying the ball to Derrick Rose. Then he takes notice of John Salmons being guarded by Udonis Haslem. He doesn't recognize this because of the obvious mismatch, but because of Salmons' tendency to spin right.
Wade times it perfectly as he steals the ball from Salmons and races down court with the clock wearing thin. At the last second, Wade, with full momentum, leaps from the three-point line and shoots it up. The crowd, and the players, watch in amazement, as the ball falls through to give the Heat an improbable 130-127 victory.