The MVP conversation for the 2008/2009 NBA season started with two names on the line: Kobe Bryant, last year’s winner, and LeBron James, unquestionable “MVP to be.” Along the course of the season, especially after the All Star game, in Phoenix, another strong name was added to the list: Dwyane Wade, from the Miami Heat.
As Heat coach Erik Spoelestra said on NBA.com, after the historic win over the Chicago Bull’s, on March 9, in Miami: "Mr. Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr., if he's not legitimately considered for an MVP candidate, I don't know what he needs to do.”
In that game Wade put the cherry on top of the cake with a steal, followed by a three point shot, all within three seconds before the game clock expired, for a 130-127 win on double over time. This is just remarkable performance under pressure.
As the long and tough NBA schedule leaves no room for celebration, Wade and the Heat were back on the court again two days later, hosting defending champs Boston Celtics, which despite missing some key players due to injuries, is one of the toughest teams on the league.
And Wade was impressive again, closing out the game with a three pointer at 34 seconds left, carrying the team to victory scoring 32 points, which in his own words were not good enough: “I was only able to get 32.” Talk about tough love on self-analysis!
After these two feats, the Heat went on and qualified for the playoffs, but Wade seems to be drifting away from the prize, despite the good possibility of the team reaching the East’s semi finals.
So how does Dwyane Wade stand out, compared to the other two future Hall of Famers? In this author’s opinion, Bryant and James play for two true contenders for this year’s NBA title. Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers are strong candidates to face each other in the finals.
Although Miami is in the playoff, 2009 will most likely not be a championship year for this young Heat team. In team sports, like basketball, being part of a potential champion roster, could work as a springboard to individual recognition in the national scenario.
The criteria used in deciding to whom the award should go may be vast and complex, but in this line of thinking, Dwyane Wade is not only a contender; he should be a favorite.