I mean we're talking about a player who has been to the finals three times in the last seven years. We're talking about a player who has scored more points, 480, than anyone except Kobe Bryant in that time frame.
He has two championships, one Finals MVP, an All-Star Game MVP and a scoring championship. He's 10th all-time in points per game and sixth all-time in player efficiency rating.
In terms of his legacy, Wade has nothing to prove.
Yet it is true that there is something to prove for Dwayne Wade. He needs to prove himself in the present.
He needs to prove that his game is something that he is adjusting to accommodate LeBron James, and not something in decline.
Many have misrepresented his downturn in production as proof that he is aging. I disagree. It has more to do with his recognizing that right now the better player is LeBron James and so he has accordingly assigned himself the secondary role.
Why did Wade's numbers decline last year?
When David Robinson propelled the San Antonio Spurs to their first championship by surrendering the leadership role to the young Tim Duncan everyone celebrated what a wonderful thing it was.
Wade's actions this season were similar. There's something about a self-assigned "Robin" role that is greatly under-appreciated. It takes a special kind of humility to do what Wade or Robinson did. The leadership they exercise is in the privacy of the locker room, not on the public court.
The way that Wade can prove this to the league is by continuing to do what he did. Willfully stand behind LeBron James in public while exercising leadership in private. That's how to keep the Heat chemistry a positive thing.
If Wade acquiesces to James, who won't?
Wade brought his own contributions to the Heat title this year and probably deserves more credit than he's gotten for what he's done on the court. His greatest contributions were in the locker room. If he can prove that he wasn't just biting his tongue, the Heat have a great chance to repeat next year.