Dwyane Wade Named Sports Illustrated’s 2006 Sportsman of the Year

MIAMI, December 4 – Miami HEAT guard Dwyane Wade has been chosen as the 2006 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year for symbolizing in character and performance the ideals of sportsmanship. Wade, who captured the 2006 NBA Finals MVP after averaging 34.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.67 steals in the six-game series against the Dallas Mavericks, helped the Miami HEAT earn their first NBA Championship.

In only his fourth season in the league, Wade has established himself as one of the sport’s premier players and as the standard bearer for a new generation of NBA superstar. Elevating his game when the stakes are highest, Wade has scored more postseason points in his first three seasons than any other player in NBA history. His Finals MVP honor adds to a deep résumé of two All-Star Game appearances and a career-scoring average of 22.9 points per game. His credentials off the court are as impressive as the leadership he displays among his teammates. The Wade’s World Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes social enrichment, education and physical fitness among youth, assists young people in reaching their educational and athletic goals through mentoring.

“This award has always stood for more than the victory alone. It recognizes the manner of an athlete’s striving and the quality of his or her efforts,” said McDonell. “Dwyane embodies that winning spirit by playing for his team, not himself, and by working in the community to ensure young people have the chance to realize their own dreams.”

The Sportsman of the Year issue, which is dated December 11, will hit newsstands this Wednesday, December 6. SI.com/sportsman includes the tribute to Wade as well as exclusive video segments, galleries of past Sportsman covers and My Sportsman nominations from dozens of SI writers. Wade will receive the Sportsman of the Year award in New York on Thursday night, December 14.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, HBO’s Costas Now will celebrate Wade’s selection and profile the year’s top performers and newsmakers.

Wade is the fifth NBA player to be named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year joining Bill Russell (1968), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1985), Michael Jordan (1991) and Tim Duncan & David Robinson (2003). He is also the youngest player on the NBA/SI Sportsman list. (In addition, former Miami HEAT player Rory Sparrow was named as one of eight Athletes Who Care in 1987.)

The last Miami-area recipient was former Dolphins’ coach Don Shula (1993).