MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has given back to the community through his philanthropic involvement in various South Florida organizations.

Since the Heat drafted Wade fifth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, the 13-time NBA All-Star has given back to the community in every possible way.

“This community has embraced me since day one. Literally day one, when I got drafted, and I was still in New York” Wade said. “Coming to an organization that is really about the community, it really helps you understand what you need to do even more, and what direction you need to go in. You know, my first family festival, I’ll never forget it, I remember thinking like, ‘Oh, my God. This is next level.’ You strive to make an impact.”

Even during his three-year break from the Heat that saw Wade play for the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade maintained his loyalty to Miami.

Former Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning said Wade understands that “basketball is temporary, and that the most important thing about life is giving back.”

“He’s held that responsibility in high regard,” Mourning said. “Ever since he’s hit the ground here in South Florida, he has not stopped providing support, services, encouragement, especially the children and families here in the community.”

Wade’s place in the South Florida community is matched by his place in the Miami Heat’s locker room, which has earned him the utmost respect from all around him.

Miami Heat President Pat Riley said, “I think he’s above and beyond a basketball player now, but he’s accomplished a player, obviously, and what he means, I think, to this team and to this city is magical. He’s just doing an incredible job, and I hope he’s gonna get out of this exactly what he wants, and we’re gonna try to help him.”

With community on top of his list, Wade has vowed after his last dance on the court this season, that his involvement with Miami will never stop.

“I’m always going to be a part of this organization, and I want to see this organization continue to prosper, and that’s on the court and off the court as well,” Wade said.

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