Miami Heat Surprise Dwyane Wade with Plans for Statue Outside Arena: ‘There’s No Love Like Miami Love’

The 13-time All-Star led the Heat to three NBA Championships throughout his career

<p>Megan Briggs/Getty</p> Dwayne Wade

Megan Briggs/Getty

Dwayne Wade

Dwyane Wade is getting memorialized in bronze!

The NBA legend was honored by the Miami Heat during last night’s game, which featured an announcement that the franchise would unveil a statue of Wade, 41, outside of their home Kaseya Center later this year.

Wade, a three-time NBA Champion who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last year, said he was honored by the news.

"I didn't dream of this,” Wade said, choking back tears after the surprise announcement. “I'm just so grateful. I can't wait for that day. I'm excited."

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<p>Amy Sussman/Getty </p> Dwayne Wade

Amy Sussman/Getty

Dwayne Wade

Former Heat head coach Pat Riley surprised Wade during the ceremony at center court and revealed the news that Miami plans to put an 8-ft. statue in front of the stadium later this fall.

“We wanted to make sure it was bigger than Shaquille O’Neal,” Riley, 78, laughed.

"When we retired his jersey in February 2020, I said Dwyane was the face of this franchise forever and I meant it,” Wade’s former coach added in a statement after the announcement. “Dwyane's legacy is a towering one not only for the Miami Heat but for Miami-Wade county. I can't think of a better way to honor him than by memorializing that legacy."

Riley coached Wade and O’Neal to the team’s first NBA Championship in 2006. Wade went on to win two more championships in Miami alongside LeBron James in 2012 and 2013.

Wade, a 13-time NBA All-Star, played most of his 16-year career with Miami outside of two brief seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers and his hometown Chicago Bulls.

Wade leads the Heat franchise in almost every major category, including games played (948) and points scored (21,556).

"I was born and raised in Chicago, but this is where I grew up," Wade said. "From 21 years old 'til 37, I grew up here. A lot of the fan base, they grew up with me. ... There's no love like Miami love, and every time I come back here I feel that."

Related: Gabrielle Union Says Motherhood Later in Life Is 'Worth It': 'I Became a Mom at the Right Time'

<p> Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty </p> Dwayne Wade

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty

Dwayne Wade

Miami’s current roster, which includes Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, stayed on the bench to watch the ceremony for Wade. After the announcement, Wade hugged family members as the crowd chanted: “MVP! MVP!”

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Last year, the father of five told PEOPLE he was "beyond grateful" to be inducted into the Hall of Fame by one of his heroes, Allen Iverson.

“It means everything to me,” he said, adding, “I'm just super, super thankful to be able to go into the Hall of Fame knowing I have so much love and so much support from my village of people.”

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