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Spurs’ Gregg Popovich opens up on what made Heat star Dwyane Wade an iconic player

Dwyane Wade, Gregg Popovich

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has had his fair share of great battles with Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. Prior to their last duel on Wednesday, Popovich shared what exactly made Wade an iconic player.

For Popovich, who entered the NBA as an assistant coach in 1988, what made Wade an iconic player was his competitive spirit on the court coupled with his understanding of the world outside of basketball.

Per Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“He certainly is an iconic an iconic figure as far as NBA basketball goes. And it’s not just because of the way he played. He played hard. He played to win. He had a ferocious attitude on the court. But it was matched with a wonderful smile and a great understanding of the world and community off the court. I think that’s what made him so special; a coveted teammate, somebody that everybody enjoyed playing with, a guy that cared about more than just basketball. That’s what makes him iconic in my mind.”

Apart from his on-court activity, little is known about Wade’s World Foundation, which, according to its website, “provides support to community-based organizations that promote education, health, and social skills for children in at-risk situations.” He started it in 2003 and has done lots of work for the community.

Certainly, Popovich is aware of Wade’s off-court activities. The two have dueled twice in the NBA Finals. They split the series at one championship apiece for both the Spurs and Heat.

More than the competition, the two share is great respect for one another.

Even after Wade retires, it’s easy to imagine him calling up Popovich from time to time to ask for some advice or to have just a quick chat about life.