Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade is in his final NBA season, and he talked about one of his most memorable interactions with a fan on Tuesday night, just before his team took on the Charlotte Hornets. During the 2015-16 NBA season, the Hornets had a chance to upset the Heat in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
The sixth-seeded Hornets could have sealed the deal in a Game 6 matchup that took place in Charlotte. One fan in particular was pestering Wade all night from his courtside seat, and it came back to bite him big time.
We’ve seen Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard explode in response to a fan, and Dwyane Wade had his own unique take on fan interaction and the role it plays in the NBA.
“Fans say stuff to you all the time,” said Wade. “In certain moments, you need a pick-me-up. It helps when someone keeps yapping. When you get going, you just keep using that as motivation, so it’s fun. You see it from time to time. The most famous time was with Reggie Miller and Spike Lee. I think it’s fun for the game. Fans will talk, and players respond. If you can take it it’s fine, and there’s no hard feelings.”
Michael Deason is the name of the fan that continued to berate Dwyane Wade. He wore a purple shirt and a white headband, so he became known as the infamous “Purple Shirt Guy.” He’s been known to mix it up with other NBA stars like Kevin Durant in the past, and he’d received warnings from the Hornets earlier on in the series for his behavior, but he just couldn’t hold back his enthusiasm.
“I decided to not stand and cheer during the first half of Game 6,” Deason told Bring Back The Buzz. “I sat in my seat and pumped my fists a few times, but I did not stand. I tried to give very little support.”
This didn’t last long, as things would escalate later on.
“In any case, I simply yelled to Dwyane Wade that he should retire during the first half. In the second half, I went back to cheering enthusiastically,” Deason continued.
Wade responded by sinking a few clutch buckets, which extended the series and forced a Game 7. It’s never a great idea to stir a player of Wade’s caliber. After all, most expect him to be a first ballot Hall of Famer in a few years. He writes #onelastdance on his sneakers before he laces up each night, and he’s excited to see what his final campaign will bring him.
“I definitely didn’t do that for him,” said Wade. “I did it for my team. Obviously sometimes things are said that are a little aggressive, from certain fan bases. As long as they can take it back when you respond, it’s fine. I think it was an important moment for me and my team, so I had to come alive. He kept talking and talking so I pretty much said ‘shut up and sit down.'”
Deason is no longer a regular at Hornets games. He’s given up his season tickets since the Heat debacle, and doesn’t follow the NBA like he used to. However, he will likely be a scapegoat fans use for years to come.
The Heat ended up losing 125-113, but Wade had an impressive night. He lead his team in scoring, pouring in 19 points in just 25 minutes. He demonstrated his improved proficiency from range by rattling home a few three’s. There are still a lot of games left to play this season. Many will celebrate what the Flash has given the game, while others may try to get in his head. If you decide you want to poke this bear, be ready to suffer the consequences.