This 2010 NBA free agent market has been a subject of much anticipated interest for the past several years. As the sun sets on this historic period in sports history, it is fair to say that the deliciously fresh oxygen, resulting from the Miami Heat's photosynthesis, is indicative of the franchises ability to capture all of the sun's glory.
There is a unique dynamic being formulated in Miami. This team will forever be of notable mention and a highlight feature reel in sports history. The 2010-2011 Miami Heat, regardless of what their record may become, are entrenched into an eternal, highly relevant component of NBA history.
While there is no disputing the tremendous talent on this Heat team, the public's associated interest, surrounding controversy, and subsequent hating by many, results from the underlying particulars associated with the assembly of this team.
The first piece of relevance, to this world class franchise, is the league's best owner and franchise anchor, Mr. Micky Arison. Arison brought Pat Riley to Miami from New York. Riley arrived in Miami with promises and aspirations of success, credibility and championships, to a young franchise seeking an identity in the highly decorated, and rich history of the NBA.
It appeared as though Riley may have had the proper ensemble in the day's of Zo and Timmy Hardaway, but the Jeff Van Gundy-led Knicks and the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls served to be insurmountable roadblocks for the Heat. Consequently, Riley had to go back to the drawing board.
In the 2003 NBA draft, the Heat, with a lottery pick, draft Dwyane Wade fifth overall. The selection did not come without some criticism, as it was a bit of surprise.
Wade did not command the attention of Lebron James or Chris Bosh in the 2003 draft. He was a bit of sleeper pick at the five spot, which many saw as a risk.
Riley, backed with the full faith and confidence of Arison, secured what will turn out to be, one of the most prolific players to ever play the game. The rest is now history in the making.
Riley knew what he was doing. He had the keen ability to identify Wade's raw talents, and a plan to rebuild the franchise, around one of the most special players to ever handle a basketball.
Franchise anchors two and three, Riley and Wade.
I love Zo. He is a staple in Heat history. In no way am I discounting his contributions to the franchise, which continue to this day. Zo maybe is my all-time favorite basketball player ever.
He is an exemplary human being. Zo is an iconic personality whom demonstrates the virtues of commitment and hard work. The 2006 victory in the Finals was in great part a result of Zo's contributions.
Historically, I feel similar about Tim Hardaway. While he was no longer playing in 2006, when the Heat won the Finals, he was amazing to watch while he played and gave Heat fans many cherished memories.
Wade is an elite athletic talent and an asset to the organization in multiple capacities. He was critical in delivering a title to Miami. The 2006 Finals MVP has successfully performed in various facets for the Miami Heat. This offseason, (which perhaps could tower his on court, to date, accomplishments), he was the key component is assembling what may possibly be the best team to ever play on the hardwood.
Wade took less money than the two high caliber free agents he successfully lobbied to join the Heat. Being the player on the team, with the most room for salary space, as per salary cap rules, he chose to take less than James and Bosh, in an effort to build more for his team, fans, city and the sport of basketball.
As a result of Wade's selfless actions, not only do the Heat have Bosh and James, but the team was afforded the added luxury of resigning Udonis Haselem (another all time favorite of mine), and bringing in sharpshooter Mike Miller.
Wade has sacrificed more than any player on this Heat roster in order to establish success for the franchise. He has sacrificed his body on the court with reckless disregard of personal injury (for seven seasons and counting). Wade's off-court efforts are greatly responsible for the current lineup. His combined actions have made the Miami Heat a topic of great interest in the world of international sports and pop culture.
Not only did Wade voluntarily leave money on the table, he set aside his ego (making less than James and Bosh), and his personal statistics. While he is the only one of the big three to not only have won a title, but been the Finals MVP! The city of Miami is ALWAYS going to belong to Dwyane Wade! History cannot be erased.
Wade is elevating the Miami Heat franchise to levels of historic proportions. For this, Wade is an eternal anchor, in the young history of this great franchise.
With the arrivals of James and Bosh, the question is, who is the number one guy on this squad? While we can stipulate that the game winning shots will be dictated by specific on court matchups, the real question is, who's team is this? Who is Alpha?
Actions speak louder than words, endorsements, media attention (i.e. MVP's) or outside opinions. Wade's actions command respect from the Heat organization, the fans, the city of Miami, the NBA and the world of sports.
This is a new frontier. One in which players have exercised their own free will as the winds which powers their sails. The captain of this vessel is without any doubt, Dwyane Wade.
James and Bosh are critical to the Heat's on court success. They are now immortal figures in Miami sports. Their talents are elite. On paper, how can any team match up? It appears impossible. I don't think the Los Angeles Lakers are even close. Many people are jealous and find reasons to hate. To them I say, hate on haters! Your ignorance fuels my joy!
James and Bosh have made very wise and commendable decisions, being true to themselves and their priorities. These guys want to win and have fun. This is viewed as bad by some because?
I challenge anyone, to make a logical and fact based argument, that there is anything wrong with their decisions.
As it stands today, the franchise of the Miami Heat is an isosceles triangle. Not anchored by the three names many may expect me to say here though. This triangle is anchored by Arison, Riley, and Wade, all with equal roles and contributions to the franchise. They are the REAL three kings.
The future of course, is wide open and yet to be written. Triangles can morph into squares, pentagrams, and so on...James, Bosh, and an infinite possibility of future names, may become the reasons for shape shifting moving forward.
As a Heat fan, I sure hope the franchise evolves with more people who contribute in similar fashions as the aforementioned, but today the Heat are a tri-figure, and the only one of those three holding a basketball on the court is Flash!
The No. 1 in Miami appropriately wears a No. 3!