Heat’s Dwyane Wade a finalist for NBA Cares Community Assist Award; voting open to fans

Dwyane Wade during his visit to Stoneman Douglas High in early March. (Courtesy Aerie Yearbook)

Heat forward Dwyane Wade, who continues to be recognized for his contributes to the South Florida community, is a finalist for 2017-18 NBA Cares Community Assist Award.

And Heat fans can have a say in the winner.

Wade is one of 10 finalists for the season-long award that was presented each month to the player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities.

Wade earned the assist award in March because of his support for the Parkland community after 14 students and three adults were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a lone gunman on Feb. 14.

Wade also is a finalist for the 2017-18 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award given by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

Wade surprised the students of Stoneman Douglas on March 7, their first full day of classes after the tragedy, by visiting the school and meeting with students and school officials. Wade dedicated the remainder of the season to one of the victims, 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver, who was buried in a Wade jersey. He invited Joaquin’s mom, dad and sister to a Heat game in March, meeting with them following the game.

Additionally, Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union, donated $200,000 to help students from his hometown of Chicago to join the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., last month. He called for other NBA players to help join the cause.

Wade also helped turn an empty warehouse in the Wynwood district of Miami into a tribute to honor the victims of the shooting, called the ‘Parkland 17.’

During All-Star Weekend, Wade joined a Sports and Society Roundtable to discuss how athletes can make an impact on the communities where they live.

Joining Wade as finalists for the award: New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins, Dallas’ J.J. Barea, Utah’s Ricky Rubio, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Golden State’s Kevin Durant, Portland’s CJ McCollum, Memphis’ Mike Conley, Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker and Charlotte’s Kemba Walker.

Fans can vote via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #NBACommunityAssist and #playersfirstlastname (e.g., #DwyaneWade).

The voting began today at noon and concludes May 6 at 11:59 p.m. The winner will be announced June 25 at the 2018 NBA Awards show in Santa Monica, Calif. The NBA and Kaiser Permanente will donate $25,000 to the winner’s charity of choice.

Wade was reacquired by the Heat on Feb 8. He helped lead Miami to a No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference and a spot in the playoffs. That postseason stay was brief, though, as the Heat were eliminated by Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, losing the series, 4-1.

Speculation now will surround Wade as to whether he will return for his 16th season or retire.

[How does Pat Riley fix this Miami Heat roster?]

[Dwyane Wade’s message to Hassan Whiteside: Don’t make excuses, work to get better to ‘show your real character’]

[Five takeaways: Heat season ends as Sixers close out first-round series in five games]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]