Dwyane Wade has been a villain in Boston.
It dates back to Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, where Miami was up 2-0 but Boston had come home. In the third quarter of that game, Wade had the ball and was isolated on Rajon Rondo near the top of the key when Rondo poked the ball free, Wade seemed to tie up Rondo to keep him from getting the loose ball, and the two went to the ground hard. That dislocated Rondo’s elbow. Boston’s comeback was doomed and Wade became the villain.
Wade was booed every time he returned to the Garden after that.
Wade played his final game against the Celtics on Tuesday and was given a warm and respectful ovation when he entered the game midway through the first quarter. Throughout the game, fans showed their respect for the future Hall of Famer.
Before the game, Celtics president Danny Ainge gave Wade a piece of the parquet — and said he’ll finally forgive him for the Rondo injury.
After the game, Wade talked about how games in the Garden and against the Celtics helped define him — and how he was touched by the gesture (hat tip NBC Sports Boston).
“I appreciate [the parquet] from Danny Ainge and the owners of the team,” said Wade. “We’ve had so many battles in the playoffs. I appreciate the respect they showed me as a player to present me with that plaque, present me with a piece of the history of the Celtics. That was so cool. I definitely didn’t expect it at all. I just want to thank them for that gesture….
“We’ve had a lot of playoff battles, a lot that I’ve lost and a lot that I’ve won,” said Wade. “This is another one of those franchises that helped myself and this organization know what it took to win and get to that next level. We had to beat this organization to get there once [Miami] developed the Big Three [with LeBron James]. Appreciate them for pushing us. They were the big brother for a long time and then we initially were able to match a little bit. We’re thankful for what they did for us from their standpoint.”