Dwyane Wade decided to surprise fans and play in a pick up game in a local NYC gym

Dwyane Wade decided to surprise fans and play in a pick up game in a local NYC gym

Miami Heat is still waiting for confirmation from Dwyane Wade on whether he intends to play this season. 12-time NBA All-Star had some fun this week and surprised some local NYC fans.

Miami Heat veteran guard Dwyane Wade long ago established a strong bond with his local fan base, a connection that appears to expand far beyond the borders of South Florida. A key facet of the future Hall of Famer’s popularity has been his approachable nature, which he showed off when he accepted a social media request from a fan in New York about playing basketball.

Wade was in New York City this week for the opening of a restaurant that he invested in. Eager to get in a workout, he tweeted: “Where the local hoopers at NYC? The after-work hoopers.”

Just 44 minutes after Wade’s request went out, he received an invitation from a fan, Brian Poliakoff, to come to Chelsea Piers Fitness later in the day. A few hours later, Poliakoff penciled in Wade to play, though Wade offered no public assurances in the interim that he would actually make it.

“He answered immediately,” Poliakoff said. “He wanted to surprise some local fans and do it for them. He said, ‘I’m going to get a haircut and then go to Chelsea Piers.’ He was proactive about it.”

When Wade showed up at the Chelsea Piers complex, there were about 18 people playing pickup basketball, and Wade joined in.

“People couldn’t tell at first it was him until he took his hat off,” said Sam Gordon, the editor in chief of Overtime who played in the game with Wade. “They weren’t fawning over him initially. Then people started hearing he was there and they started gathering and taking selfies. By the end, there were 34 people. He was super relaxed, not full of himself, answering questions.”

Wade has yet to come to a final decision about whether or not to play in his 16th NBA season. He had previously indicated that if he does sign with an NBA team, it would only be with the Heat. A reported lucrative offer to play for a Chinese professional team was also made in July, with retirement still a possibility. Still, the fact that Wade is willing to compete against any and all comers indicates that he still has the fire to play.