Wade County: The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade

 The Miami Herald reported that the Heat will offer Wade a six-year, $125 million contract just after midnight on July 1, and no other team could offer Wade a contract for more years or money.

With campaigns in full swing to keep Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade tearing up the courts at American Airlines Arena, Haute Living sat down with the basketball legend to discuss the impact he has made on South Florida—both on and off the court—since joining the roster in 2003.

The entire city waits with bated breath for Miami Heat demigod Dwyane Wade’s decision: will he stay or will he go? Planning to opt out of his Heat contract, Wade will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2010, making him a hot commodity for basketball teams across the country looking to add his skills to their roster. What’s unprecedented about this off-season is the shear number of MVP-caliber players who will be free agents, including LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Amar’e Stoudemire. Should any one team lure more than one of these greats, it would shape the course of NBA seasons for years to come. Rumors have Wade being lured by the likes of his hometown Chicago Bulls as well as the New York Knicks, two of the few teams that could afford him. But Miamians aren’t letting him go without a fight.

It’s a fight that’s been brewing for some time. For months leading up to the start of the last season Wade was under contract with the Heat, billboards lined the Interstates throughout Miami-Dade proclaiming, “Welcome to Wade County,” lest the basketball legend forget how much the city loves—nay, needs—him.

Miamians got a taste for winning when Wade and his then-teammate Shaquille O’Neal helped plow the way to the Heat’s first NBA Championship in 2006. Wade went on to earn national praise as a member of the Gold Medal Olympic team in 2008, picking up a slew of endorsement deals along the way, which paved the way for modeling contracts and being named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.” In 2009, it was announced he would join the Air Jordan family, realizing one of his biggest goals—to be recognized by the greatest player in the sport’s history, Michael Jordan, whom Wade grew up idolizing. He first rocked the 25th-anniversary edition of the Air Jordan during the 2010 NBA All-Star weekend, and maybe it was the extra spring it provided his step that earned Wade MVP honors.