Dwyane Wade has drawn the ire of many Canadians, and not just because of how well he’s played in the Miami Heat’s playoff series against the Toronto Raptors. The 12-time NBA All-Star was caught warming up when "O Canada" was performed before Game 3 on Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Arena.
Wade was still shooting baskets as players for both the Heat and Raptors were lined up on the court during the Canadian national anthem. The 34-year-old said it was poor timing, claiming he doesn’t line up for the anthem until he makes his final practice shot.
“It’s something that I do before every game that I prepare for, and I’ve been doing it my whole career,” Wade told reporters on Sunday. “So I understand whatever is said from that standpoint, but I’m not a disrespectful person.
"Everything started a little later than it did when we were in Canada [for Games 1 and 2]. It started at 12:30 on the clock. It was no disrespect from myself. And if anybody feels like it was, please don't fill up my timeline with disrespectful comments because that's not this guy right here. Find somebody else for that. But we'll adjust our pregame routine for the next game."
But that wasn’t enough of an explanation for some Canadians. The incident has gotten so much attention that Canadian politicians are getting involved. Ontario provincial parliament member Mike Colle wrote to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, demanding that Wade offer a public apology, calling it an “urgent matter.”
"As an elected Member of Ontario’s Provincial Parliament in Toronto I am most disturbed by Mr. Dwayne [sic] Wade’s total disrespect for our National Anthem shown prior to last night’s game,” Colle wrote on May 8. “On behalf of many Canadians and my constituents who respect Mr. Wade as an exceptional athlete and who love basketball I ask you as NBA Commissioner to formally seek a public apology from Mr. Wade whom I’m sure regrets his mistake."
Others took to Twitter to express their displeasure.
— Norm Kelly (@norm) May 8, 2016
— John Tory (@JohnTory) May 8, 2016
Wade scored 38 points on Saturday, but Miami lost at home and fell behind 2-1 in the second-round series. Game 4 is set for Monday night, and the series returns to Toronto on Wednesday for Game 5.