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Friday, February 2, 2007
Marquette to retire Heat star's jersey on Saturday

Associated Press

MIAMI -- It's a big weekend for Dwyane Wade.

His beloved Chicago Bears are in the Super Bowl on Sunday, facing the Indianapolis Colts. His son, Zaire, turns 5 that same day and the doting dad plans to surprise him with a trip to the game.

And before all that, the Miami Heat star will receive a big honor: His Marquette jersey is being retired.

A ceremony is set for Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee, where Wade's No. 3 will be hoisted at halftime of the Golden Eagles' game with Providence. The Heat will play in Milwaukee against the Bucks on Saturday night.

"I'm excited, because this is something that doesn't happen to a lot of players, especially a player like me who didn't finish," said Wade, who left Marquette after his junior year. "This is an honor for me, to be one of the nine guys to get his jersey retired. I'm just very honored. I feel blessed."

Wade didn't play as a freshman because of academic issues; he was a partial qualifier coming out of high school. But in his two on-court seasons at Marquette, the Golden Eagles were 53-13 and reached the 2003 Final Four -- their first trip to the national semifinals since 1977.

In his final year at Marquette, Wade -- the MVP of last year's NBA finals, where he led the Heat to their first championship by beating the Dallas Mavericks in six games -- set a school record, scoring 710 points.

"In a short period of time, Dwyane Wade has made an impact across the world with his ability as a basketball player, but more importantly as a human being," Marquette head coach Tom Crean said. "We had an opportunity at Marquette to see that first hand and are better because of him."

Other Marquette players to have their jerseys retired are Dean Meminger, Butch Lee, Maurice Lucas, George Thompson, Bo Ellis, Doc Rivers, Earl Tatum and Don Kojis.

Marquette has also retired three other numbers: 11, for the Apollo 11 crew; 38, for the years Robert Weingart served as athletic director; and 77 for coach Al McGuire, who led the school to the 1977 national championship.

"I can't wait to share the moment with my coach and the whole community of Milwaukee, that was so great to me in my three years there," Wade said.

Wade entered Friday ranked fifth this season in scoring, averaging 28.7 points for the Heat. He scored 41 points Thursday night, leading Miami to a comeback 92-89 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"My whole life is happening quickly," Wade said. "It seemed like it took 21 long years at first, and the last four have been zooming by."