There was a time not too long ago when all you had to do to make Dwyane Wade happy was to hand him a basketball.
Whether it was in his childhood driveway, in practice while at Marquette, or in front of 20,000 NBA fans, Wade just loved playing the game of basketball.
You could see it in his face. You could see it in the way he played the game.
He didn't care about maximum contracts, pushing endorsements, or sub-par teammates. Instead, He just wanted to go out on the court, give it his all, and appreciate what a great gift God had given him.
But something has happened to our "humble superstar," and I'm not the kind of person to let it go unnoticed.
I'm calling for a halt to this DIVA act right now.
That's right; D-Wade is a D-Va. Look it up and maybe you'll believe me. Don't have the time or patience for that? Fine, let me make it easy for you:
Diva (noun) - A person who considers herself (or by extension himself) much more important than others, has high expectations of others and becomes angry when their standards or demands are not met.
Isn't that exactly how Wade is acting by putting pressure on Pat Riley to make moves now? Am I the only one who gets disgusted every time an athlete thinks they are getting paid to be both a player and a GM?
What I don't get is that Riley has stated for a long time exactly what his intentions are. He wants to resign Wade and not give out any big contracts until 2010. If a great trade comes along, he'll pull the trigger, but he's not desperate to make any move unless it clearly improves the team both now and in the long term.
Why is Wade surprised by this? Why is he acting as if Riley has betrayed him and doesn't want to put a championship caliber team together?
It's because he feels he is more important than the rest of the team. He has this "how dare you waste a year of my prime" attitude and it's rather repulsive.
Across the league, many guys play just as hard every night and don't have the opportunity to be on a great team by next year. Also, the vast majority of them aren't getting paid $15.8 million, either.
If Wade really wants to be on a championship contender in Miami, then Wade is the one who needs to approach things differently, not Riley.
Acting like a diva does nothing but hamper a team's ability to truly improve itself.
First off, by making it public that he's not happy, Wade is letting everyone know that Riley has to make a move. When a team is forced to make a deal, they have no negotiating power and thus are at a disadvantage.
Secondly, by not signing that extension now, Wade is making Miami less appealing to potential free agents in 2010. If Riley knows Wade will be in Miami, the focus could be more on putting together the best team possible next year.
It is really not a hard concept to understand.
Finally, if Wade really did care about winning, he should realize that his future contract could be a hindrance to putting together the best possible team. He doesn't have to sign a maximum deal, but he obviously will because that's all that really matters to him, anyway.
I don't care what anybody says, there isn't a player in sports who truly, deeply cares about winning and gets paid for that.
I'm not saying I wouldn't take the most money made available to me, but I am saying I wouldn't then hold it against my team if they couldn't get better guys around me.
I just wish Wade wouldn't be so short-sighted.
He should be looking towards this season with optimism that they are building toward something positive. Instead of viewing each season as "Championship or Failure," he needs to understand how lucky he was to catch lightning in a bottle once already.
If he does that, he might also realize a few other things. Instead of having a first round sweep and the worst record in the league in the two seasons following a championship, he might have a team with the ability to compete for a championship for a very long time.