Dwyane Wade's Torch: Hall-of-Fame Prospects from Miami Sports Landscape | Miami New Times


Miami Athletes Who Could Carry Dwyane Wade's Torch Into Hall of Fame

Who among the current crop of Miami's star athletes is poised to follow Dwyane Wade?
Dwyane Wade is inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall on August 12, 2023 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Dwyane Wade is inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall on August 12, 2023 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Photo by Mike Lawry/Getty Images
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Enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this past weekend, legendary Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade is honored alongside the sport's all-time greats. As Wade's friends, family, and peers celebrated his incredible career during his induction ceremony, it sparked a question: Who among the current crop of Miami's professional athletes is poised to follow in his footsteps and earn a hall-of-fame induction?

The key word here is "active." Past Heat standouts like Glen Rice might still be waiting for their Hall of Fame nod in Springfield, Massachusetts, but we're wondering which current athletes on the Miami scene might have a foot in the door with the other still on the playing field.

From youngsters showing promise, who could reach the honor a long way down the road, to the seasoned veterans, who are seemingly a lock to be enshrined themselves, let's scan through the Miami sports landscape to see who has a chance to don an iconic club jacket or have their likeness immortalized with a bust.

Matthew Tkachuk

Matthew Tkachuk had a hell of a first season in Sunrise after being traded to Florida from Calgary. Tkachuk finished his year with the Panthers with a career-high 109 points and was named a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league's most valuable player. Oh, and the Panthers made the Stanley Cup thanks to his string of game-winning playoff goals — not bad, new guy!

Tkachuk has big shoes to fill as his pops, Keith Tkachuk, put together a prime career to become one of only five U.S.-born players to score more than 500 goals in the NHL. Keith has a spot in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, though he still has not been inducted into the Toronto-based Hockey Hall of Fame, where many of his contemporaries are honored.

While it's too early to tell if the younger Tkachuk is on his way to hall-of-fame status, a total of more than 500 points through his burgeoning career, with more than 200 points in just the past two seasons, is a hell of a start.

Sandy Alcantara

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara is coming off a Cy Young Award season, an honor that pretty much opens a VIP shortcut to the Hall of Fame. Having been selected to the All-Star game twice, in 2019 and 2022, and the 2022 All-MLB First Team, Alcantara is on his way to a HOF-worthy career, but far from anything resembling a lock.

Thought of as a young pitcher, Alcantara is 27 years old and has struggled this season, with a 5-10 record and 4.09 ERA as the follow-up to being the consensus best pitcher in baseball last year. He'll need to recapture his 2022 form and keep it going for a handful of years to make a hall-of-fame bid.

Bam Adebayo

Only 26 years old, Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo has plenty of tread left on his career's tires to reach where Dwyane Wade had been.

As one of the most underrated players in the NBA, Adebayo and his achievements will speak for themselves when he finally calls it quits. As it stands, Bam's résumé includes being a two-time NBA All-Star in 2020 and 2023 and NBA All-Defensive Second Team for four consecutive years from 2020 to 2023. He averaged more than 20 points a game for the first time in his career last season. 

Xavien Howard

The ultimate judge of players' hall-of-fame worthiness is whether they were one of the best in the sport at their position. When it comes to Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, he's held that title for quite some time.

Xavien Howard's Hall of Fame résumé highlights include being named first-team All-Pro in 2020 and second-team All-Pro in 2018. He has also been selected for the Pro Bowl four times, in 2018 and consecutively from 2020 to 2022.

Perhaps most importantly, when it comes to proving the best player at your position case — Howard has twice led the NFL in interceptions, first in 2018 and again in 2020. With 28 interceptions to his name, he has the seventh most among active players.

Jalen Ramsey

The Miami Dolphins' newest defensive-back badass, Jalen Ramsey, comes to the 305 with an already decorated career. Ramsey's potential HOF bona fides include a Super Bowl LVI ring, making the first-team All-Pro three times (2017, 2020, 2021), and the Pro Bowl consecutively from 2017 to 2022.

Though currently injured, Ramsey is considered in the prime of his career and still one of the top defensive players in the NFL. A few more seasons of what he's been doing could equate to a gold jacket when it's all said and done.

Jimmy Butler

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler is nearing the end of his NBA career, which doesn't leave much time to further make his case for the Hall of Fame. Luckily for him, he's already a contender for the accolade.

Butler has a handful of NBA All-Star selections to his name and may have had more if he didn't show reluctance to play in the mid-season event. He secured five NBA All-Defensive second-team selections (2014–2016, 2018, 2021), an NBA Most Improved Player award in 2015, and was the NBA steals leader in 2021.

Most importantly — he's just a dog. Any list of the NBA's greatest players would feel incomplete without Butler. He built up a stellar career before joining the Heat and has ruled the league since coming to Miami.

Tyreek Hill

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill is all but assured an NFL Hall of Fame spot if he continues racking up receiving yards at his current pace. Hill won a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs, has first-team All-Pro selections in 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022, and seven Pro Bowl appearances from 2016 to 2022.

Hill was also named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. Yeah — Tyreek is on pace to be inducted into the hallowed halls in Canton. He may as well start writing his Hall of Fame speech.

Lionel Messi

The real question here is who will receive a mention within the walls of the museums built in Lionel Messi's honor.

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi — pause to appreciate that one of the greatest soccer players of all-time plays for Miami — has a Wikipedia page dedicated solely to his career accomplishments. To sit here and pretend an argument needs to be made as to whether Messi will be commemorated in cities worldwide that enjoy soccer, for, you know, the next century, is to do a disservice to the GOAT's name.

Vegas won't even put odds on it, it's such a lock — Lionel Messi has already earned multiple hall-of-fame honors across the globe. 
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