With the future of Dwyane Wade uncertain and the All-Star guard facing the biggest offseason of his career, headlines have been swirling about what he will do this summer.
While these are all unanswered questions, one thing is certain about Wade's summer plans: He wants to finish college and get his degree.
Wade spent three years of college at Marquette, where he opted to leave after his junior year in favor of the NBA draft. As we all know, he was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft.
After Marquette retired his number in 2007, they asked him to finish his degree as part of the agreement. So, Wade intends on enrolling in online courses over the summer to work towards achieving an undergraduate communications degree.
While education is very important and a college degree is honorable, so is fulfilling his duties of playing for the U.S.A. Men's Basketball team. The U.S National team has just returned to the top of the basketball world after winning the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and it would be a downright shame if they failed to stay on top because crucial players such as Wade don't want to return.
United States basketball went through a real dark period after years of international dominance at the sport when they failed to win the gold in 2002, 2004, and 2006. The team received a lot of criticism and endured an entire roster and attitude shake up. Eventually, order was restored, and Team USA got back to the glory days with the 2008 gold medal.
But, with players like Wade and LeBron James hesitant about returning to this summer's Olympic qualifying tournament, the so called "Redeem Team" could be short-lived.
With all the speculation mounting about Wade's future as the perennial All-Star has the option to become a free agent this summer, he should want to have some certainty and participate in the Olympic games.
The Olympics are so much bigger and more meaningful than individual accomplishments and contract negotiations. It is an honor to be selected as a member of Team USA and Wade should respect that.
Wade has been part of the team since 2004 when he was a second-year player and was a major reason they won the gold medal two years ago. He was the team's leading scorer and made key shots in the championship matchup against Spain that ensured USA the gold.
Loosing Wade would be a major blow to Team USA's chances in the 2010 qualifying tournament because it could influence players like James to make the same decision. While Wade and James have big offseasons upcoming as the two most sought after free agents, they shouldn't neglect their Olympic duties.
Barring any injuries or major setbacks, Dwyane Wade should play for Team USA this summer in Turkey. It is his duty as one of the best players in America, let alone the world, to lead his country to victory. Hopefully, Wade will make the best decision and play in Turkey this summer and help guide the United States back to their throne as the best country in basketball.
Because winning one gold medal in the last eight years doesn't qualify them as the dynasty they once were when they were the Dream Team.