It doesn't get easier as you get older, not even for one of the game's all-time greats.
Just listen to Dwyane Wade tell you:
When you’re young, the only thing you’ve got to do is show up and play. Now you spend hours getting prepared for a game, whether it’s lifting weights for your body, getting certain treatments for certain areas, whether it’s getting massages, whether it’s getting acupuncture. Whatever you’re doing, you’re finding so many things to give you an edge in a sense. So I do a combination of everything.
So what's he doing lately?
Well, whatever it is, it's working.
And suddenly, as Wade has produced two of his better games of the season—a brilliant two-way performance against the Lakers followed by a 35-point blitzing of the Raptors—you're no longer hearing the narrative, one authored in part by former commercial co-star Charles Barkley, that Wade is losing some of his talent.
Instead, in the month that he turned 31, he seems to be gaining steam.
This hasn't come as a surprise to his coach, Erik Spoelstra:
He’s getting his legs under him. He gets better as seasons go on. He’s putting in a lot of work. This is not an accident. Two days ago, at practice, we had an 11 o’clock practice, he was in before 9, doing his full leg and preparation workout, mobility and agility, all those exercises, before practice... He’s been putting in more time than I’ve ever seen behind the scenes.
Is it time to again declare Wade, who will play in his ninth All-Star game in three weeks, clearly among the elite?