With politicians, schoolkids, Miami Heat officials and fanfare, Miami-Dade County was officially renamed “Miami-Wade County” this morning – through July 8 -- in honor of South Florida’s favorite NBA (imminent) free agent, Dwyane Wade.
And so begins “We Want Wade Week” – coinciding with the first week of NBA free agency, which officially begins at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. With the richest free agent class in years and the potential to vastly re-shape a team’s and its city’s fortunes, the Miami Heat has been making sure the community shows Wade some super love.
The We Want Wade campaign was launched last month, complete with wewantwade.com website, fan kits with stickers and souvenirs, opportunities for fans to send Wade messages and upload videos. The team hoisted a billboard with just the signature portion of a contract awaiting Wade’s autograph near his Miami home. It gave out We Want Wade T-shirts at the NBA draft party at AmericanAirlines Arena last week.
This week, the campaign goes full force:
The county’s been informally known by Heat fans as “Wade County” for years, but the county’s proclamation at the county government center this morning made it official for this week. The logo is even in the Heat's black and red colors, rather than the usual blue and green.
Wade now appears larger than life -- along with his highlights -- on AmericanAirlines Arena’s MediaMesh marquee overlooking Biscayne Boulevard.
Burnie the Heat mascot plans to live on the ledge of the arena’s main entrance for the week, with his living arrangements on view 24 hours a day online, much like the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.
Staring Friday, Wade highlights will be all over Heat.com. On Saturday from noon to midnight, Sun Sports will replay four of Wade’s most notable games (Heat v. Hornets, playoffs, April 18, 2004; Heat v. Knicks, March 15, 2005; Heat v. Mavericks, Finals, June 13, 2006; Heat v. Bulls, March 9, 2009).
For July 4th on Sunday, the Heat Street Band entertains people around AmericanAirlines Arena. Fans are encouraged to wear Wade gear on Monday. On Tuesday, at 3:33 p.m. – in honor of Wade’s No. 3 jersey – fans are encouraged to write messages on Wade’s Facebook wall – at facebook.com/dwyanewade. And on July 7, the team launches a social media scavenger hunt for five oversized No. 3 figurines that will be hidden around South Florida. Finding the figurines gives fans entry into a VIP event at the arena.