Despite being a fan of the Orlando Magic even I can understand how important Thursday night is for several parties. NBA veteran Dwyane Wade is making his return to Miami after leaving the Heat franchise during the off-season. Wade is now a Chicago Bull and he will be in the visitors locker room of the American Airlines Arena for the very first time. Wade recently took to the media to speak about his first return trip to Miami:
“I’m going to go sleep in my bed for about three hours,’’ Wade said. “But I’m going to take advantage of the moments I’m there. I’m going to take advantage of my loved ones that are there, my family and friends that are around, and go out and compete in an arena that I played for 13 years, an environment that I’m used to. It’s going to be fun from that aspect.’’
I happen to write for the biggest Miami Heat fan that I know, C.L. Anthony, the Editor in Chief of The Hardwood Nation. Rightfully so, Anthony has had mixed feelings about Wade leaving the Heat organization so I decided to ask him a few questions about those feelings.
What was Dwyane Wade’s most important game of his Heat career?
There’s not one single game that stands out but a set of 4. After being down 0-2 in the 2006 NBA Finals Wade’s legend was born by leading the Heat to victories in the next 4 games and securing the first championship in franchise history. He averaged 35 points, 8 rebounds, and slightly over 3 assists per game. He was virtually unstoppable in the 4 victories and also took 97 free throws in the series. That was his most important games and also his defining moment.
What Heat team was the best Wade played for and why?
This would have to be the championship team of 2012. After a year together the big three hit their stride in the lockout shortened season. Wade agreed that off-season to take a secondary role to LeBron James and it paid off as the Heat steam rolled the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals. Despite James winning that season’s MVP award, Wade still average 22.1 points per contest and remained the most important player on the team while playing off of James.
Who was Wade’s biggest rival on the court?
The NBA is loaded with talent and no one name stands out here. I’ve seen Wade duel with a multitude of stars, but his biggest rival on court was always himself as he always pushed to be the best player that he could. Could this sound like a cliché, of course, but Wade has never had that one guy be a rival. There were a couple of teams such as the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, and Indiana Pacers but no one player. However I will say that oddly enough Dirk Nowitzki comes the closest.
Would the Heat choose Wade as their greatest player in franchise history? Why or Why not?
I’ve held off on this mindset for awhile and I say that because Alonzo Mourning will always be the heart and soul of the franchise, the pillar if you will. With that said Mourning wasn’t drafted by the franchise and that means something. Dwyane Wade is now and may always be the most important player that the Heat has ever drafted. He was truly lightning captured in a bottle and time will show that the Heat will choose him as their greatest player. There’s no doubt that his number 3 will hang in the rafters one day.
What was Wade’s biggest failure with the Heat?
Walking away was the only time that I felt Wade failed the franchise. There were and still are hurt feelings on all sides but walking away because he wanted to be “selfish” was a failure. With that said he wants the best for the franchise and himself so I understand but he was the one who coined the phrase “Heat Lifer” and a year later he’s gone. As we’re often taught, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel and the door will always be open for his eventual return and I have hope that he will and when he does, the pain of his failure will be reversed. I’m really looking forward to seeing the beginning of that process Thursday night.
“I’m not wishing nothing bad on that organization,” Wade said. “I have nothing but love for everybody in that organization. And I want them to be successful, just as we all say, just not when they play the Bulls. But besides that I want them to be successful.”