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Dwyane Wade pledging $3 million donation to Marquette

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Dwyane Wade is donating $3 million to Marquette just over two decades after leading the Golden Eagles to their last Final Four appearance.

Marquette announced the gift Monday as the Hall of Fame guard attended the 17th-ranked Golden Eagles’ game with Villanova.

“I’ve always talked about, when a door opens, not squeezing through that door and letting it close by me – holding it open," Wade said at a halftime news conference. "This is an opportunity to hold that door open for our next generation.”

Wade’s gift will grow the school’s summer reading program for Milwaukee children, establish a Wade Scholars program benefiting low-income students and expand the university’s athletic and human performance research center, which will include a new practice facility for the men’s basketball program.

The new practice facility remains in the fund-raising and development phase. The court will be named after Wade.

"The games are when fans get the opportunity to come and enjoy all the hard work that’s put in behind the scenes,” Wade said. “But practice, that’s where my money was made. That’s where my legacy was built. And so for each kid that will come through this university to be able to see that name on that court, hopefully that’s the message, that they understand this is where legacy is built, this is where you take advantage of the opportunities given to you.”

Wade starred for Marquette from 2001-03 and helped the Golden Eagles reach the Final Four in 2003 before going on to become a three-time NBA champion and eight-time all-NBA performer.

The announcement of Wade’s gift comes one day after the Miami Heat announced they would unveil a bronze statue of him outside the Kaseya Center.

“It's a great way to start the 42nd birthday week,” said Wade, who turns 42 on Wednesday. “At 42, it isn't really a cool birthday. Nobody's celebrating in between 40 and 45, right? But I have no idea, I can't put into words what these last few hours have been. ... I'm very grateful. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world because of all the opportunities and all the places that I get to sit.”

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball