Article Brought to you by: Crank Up The HEAT
Dwyane Wade has been in Miami for the good times and the bad times. Never has he talked bad about the team; he never threatened the team in a big way, saying he would leave if he didn’t get the supporting cast he long deserved to compliment his greatness.
Wade simply kept quiet, one of his best qualities, one of the qualities that has earned him the nickname of Miami’s lovable assassin.
Instead of complaining saying that the Heat are a bad team and that he wanted out, Wade simply asked for what every superstar asked for, a good supporting cast, but in a lesser dose than most superstars.
Wade also did something that no other free agent this off-season did: he recruited people to play on his team.
Enter the 2010 Free-Agency drama. If you thought for a second that Wade was leaving Miami for Chicago, you had little faith.
Miami fans have been witnessing greatness for the past seven years, and some have taken it for granted. People are already calling the Miami Heat LeBron James’ team simply because he played well in his first preseason game scoring 18 points and was the main player on the court due to the fact Wade sustained an injury.
But I’m here to tell you otherwise. The Miami Heat will always and forever be Dwyane Wade’s team, no matter who’s playing with him.
You might be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Pedro, you are a fool, you are delusional. You are simply in denial that LeBron is the best player therefore the face of the franchise!”
Yes, LeBron James is better than Dwyane Wade. James is a freak of nature; there is no denying that. But much like Alex Rodriguez is a much better player than Derek Jeter, that doesn’t make the Yankees Rodriguez’s team.
Wade, like Jeter, is the franchise. There wouldn’t be a Big Three in Miami if there wasn’t a Dwyane Wade first.
Yes, LeBron James is vocal; we all know that. Even Wade knows that. Wade is the quiet lead-by-example leader (being the quiet lead-by-example superstar isn't a crime. Look back in NBA history; Larry Bird was as quiet as they come, and he was a superstar and a Hall-Of-Famer).
There's no rule in the NBA that says the older you get, the louder you must get. And now that LeBron James, probably one of the loudest guys in the league, is Wade's teammate, he [Wade] can fall back into his usual role.
Wade loves the fact that he can go back to his days when he had vocal leaders like Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, and Shaquille O’Neal on the team. During those years, Wade was the franchise superstar, and yet he was the one that led-by-example and people respected him.
"The last couple of years I've learned how to teach,'' Wade said. "I'm not the loudest guy. My voice is not as loud as Bron's. It allows me to stay within my personality of leadership [having LeBron as a teammate] and not go outside that box, which I had to do for a couple of years.''
"He's probably like a pig in slop right now,'' Haslem said of the situation Wade is in now.
Just look at the Celtics when they acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Garnett was literally the Big Ticket in town, much like LeBron is the reason people are paying to go to games.
But when it came down to who was the franchise player, who was the player the fans loved, who was there for the good and the ugly, the simple answer was Paul Pierce.
Pierce was with Boston for all of it, just like Wade with Miami. Pierce was there for the good, the ugly, and the great. When Boston won it in 2008 Pierce, not Garnett, was the Finals MVP.
Pierce is the fan favorite. Garnett and Allen both knew they were coming into Pierce’s team. If you ask any real Celtics fan right now, they will say the Celtics are Paul Pierce’s team.
I’ve interviewed two Celtics fans about the subject, and they both had the same answer for me. When I asked whose team the Celtics was, if it was Garnett’s team or Pierce’s team, Jessy Cledor, a Boston fan, told me “It’s Paul Pierce’s team, just ask Garnett.”
Marz Sanoja, another longtime Celtics fan, had this to add to the conversation “If I had to pick between them, I’d have to say Pierce. He’s been through it all with us, point blank. Garnett is an incredible leader obviously, but I got to give it to Pierce.”
Secondly, this simply can’t be LeBron’s team. LeBron left his team, the one he built, the one that he played for seven years, the one he took to the finals in 2007. You can’t simply expect him to come in to another superstar’s house and expect to be the top dog.
The media took LeBron’s comments after the first preseason game out of context. When LeBron said “I can’t defer, I’m never in defer mentality.”, the question that was asked him was that if having Wade out brought him back to a more comfort zone, a natural situation in which he figured out everything.
And he answered that no matter how many weapons they have on the court, he would still play his game. He can’t defer from his game, if he has an opening he’s going to go for it, if he has a look, he’ll go for it. LeBron was talking about his game.
Yes no one wants LeBron to “defer” from his game because that’s what makes him special; what he said was simply taken out of context.
At the end of the day, we all know Wade will be the last player introduced at player introductions; he will be the one that the fans will cheer the loudest to, and he will be the guy in the middle of most pictures with LeBron to his right and Bosh to his left.
Why does all this matter?
It matters because since we got our shinny new toy, some of us Heat fans have forgotten about our MV3, the guy that put the Miami Heat back on the map during his rookie campaign, the one that took us to the 2006 Finals and brought us back from a 0-2 hole in the finals to win it 4-2, the one who won the Finals MVP award and averaged 34.7 points per game, the one that stayed with us after the 15-67 season and took us back to the playoffs, and the one that brought LeBron James to his team.
And that’s the key to this. Wade brought LeBron to his team; not the other way around. People will want to argue and say that if LeBron didn’t come to Miami, Wade wasn’t going to come, but that’s false. Wade and Bosh signed before LeBron announced his decision.
The Miami Heat organization was already planning “The Summer of 2010” Celebration in July for Bosh and Wade; they just added LeBron to it. With or without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade would have stayed in Miami, no question about it.
To me, this reminds me a lot of my favorite movie of all time, “Toy Story”.
Woody was Andy's favorite toy. He had a great run with him and he loved him. Then, the shiny new toy, Buzz, comes to town, and everyone shoves Woody to the side like he's chopped liver.
Everyone starts to talk about how Buzz was now Andy’s favorite toy. But in the end, Andy remembers how spoiled he was to have such an amazing toy like Woody and just throwing him to the side like he did was wrong. So Andy picks up Woody and he loves him yet again.