Wade’s 2nd title comes along a different path
More than a little bit has changed since Dwyane Wade’s first
taste of an NBA championship.
He became a father for the second time. He played for the worst
team in the league. He won an Olympic gold medal. He got divorced.
He convinced LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join him in Miami. He
dealt with an ugly custody fight that took years and in some ways
continues today. He wrote a book this year. He lost a championship
series last year.
A whirlwind, by any measure.
”What I dealt with personally,” Wade said, ”was indescribable
in a sense.”
So was the feeling he had Thursday night – as a champion for the
Wade and the Miami Heat are back atop the NBA world. He scored
20 points, James had a triple-double and the Heat beat the Oklahoma
City Thunder 121-106 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, winning the title
in five games. James left with the MVP trophy this time, six years
later after it was Wade with it in Dallas. And Wade couldn’t have
been happier about the arrangement.
”Two years ago, putting this team together, obviously we all
expected it to be a little easier than it was,” Wade said. ”But
we had to go through what we had to go through last year. We needed
to. And as much as it hurt, we had to go through that pain and that
suffering. To get to this point of this season and the rest of our
careers together, we’ll take nothing for granted.”
When he says that – nothing for granted – he truly means it, and
in more than a basketball sense.
Even during these finals, Wade’s private life was problematic.
His ex-wife was charged with, among other things, trying to abduct
their two sons when she failed to release them from a visit to her
home as scheduled. The incident coincided with Father’s Day, and it
wasn’t the first time custody of the boys was an issue on the
holiday that Wade cherishes.
For days, he told only close family and friends. He scored 25
points in a finals game, hours after the boys got to their Miami
home a day behind schedule and after some phone calls that could be
best described as angst-laden.
The boys were with him on Thursday, the night he became a
”I have an unbelievable family, I have an unbelievable core,
unbelievable support of friends and loved ones,” Wade said. ”And
to be back here with this trophy sitting next to me six years
later, I’m blessed, I’m lucky to be put in the position I am. I’m
going to enjoy this one a lot more than I enjoyed 2006. When you
get there early, you say, `Oh, man, we’re going to do this again
next year.’ This is not guaranteed right here, man. You have to
enjoy this, and we will do that.”
Wade did something that a lot of stars would not have done to
make this title happen.
He sacrificed, and sacrificed a lot. He left about $20 million
in salary on the table in owner Micky Arison’s office to make sure
that James, Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller and others could be
squeezed under the cap two summers ago. He turned over the role of
team go-to guy to James, the player that even Wade will acknowledge
”Best player in the world,” Wade said.
That’s what Heat president Pat Riley used to call Wade. It’s not
a slight on Wade that someone better is here now. It’s what Wade
wanted in the first place. Odds are, Wade will never be the
highest-paid player on his team. He’s never been. But in the next
few months, he’ll get his second championship ring, and the way
this team is built, it easily might not be his last.
”We made a decision two years ago to become a team,” Wade
said. ”You know, LeBron, Chris and myself, and other guys decided
to come together. So you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to make
sure that you reach your goal. And I had a position, I had a role
to play. It might have changed a little bit, but at the end of the
day we all had one common goal, and that was to become the
On Thursday, that finally happened.
On the same court where Dallas celebrated in front of them a
year ago, Wade and the Heat won it all. A banner will rise,
How fitting. Ups and downs, just like his life has seen over
these last six years.
”I’m speechless,” Wade said. ”Winning the championship in
2006 was amazing. But I didn’t go through nothing yet. Now six
years after that, I’ve been through a lot in my personal life, and
I’ve been through a lot in my professional life, and this means so
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