If Dwyane Wade had an immense ego, he might take umbrage to not getting his proper respects.
From the time LeBron James arrived in South Beach, through his departure and up to the current day, Wade has seemingly been relegated to something of a second-tier talent despite an endless stream of excellence that he continues to maintain.
But every time you turn around, people are mentioning other individuals with lesser accomplishments when the top players in the league are mentioned.
Of course this wasn’t always the case. From 2005 to 2007, Wade's jersey was the league's top seller. Given the nickname The Flash by Shaquille O’Neal upon his arrival from the Los Angeles Lakers in 2005, D-Wade had a blinding first step that confounded even the best defenders.
Many will recall that he put Shaq and the entire Heat franchise on his back and carried them to an NBA title in 2006. After being down 0-2 versus the Dallas Mavericks, Wade dropped 42, 36 and 43 respectively en route to the championship.
Trailing by 13 points in Game 3, Wade dropped fifteen points in the fourth quarter to help his team erase that margin. He averaged 34.7 points per game in that Finals appearance. That was the third highest Finals scoring average ever.
Some even believe it was the greatest Finals performance since the NBA-ABA merger.
Wade led the 2008 United States men’s basketball team to a gold medal in the Summer Olympics, added a scoring title, and recruited like John Calipari to get LeBron James and Chris Bosh to come to Miami and push the Heat over the top. He sacrificed his numbers, and spotlight, to bring two more titles to Miami.
While the Big Three were making their championship runs all you heard was how D-Wade was getting old, that he’d lost his lift and that his other skills were eroding.
When you play the way Wade does, slashing, jumping, and making hard cuts, injuries to the lower extremities are inevitable. But as he proved during the 2013 NBA Finals versus the San Antonio Spurs, you can never count him out. Even when he’s “less’ of what he used to be.
Hobbled by a litany of injuries that season, including a bad knee and foot issues, Wade put up scoring games of 32, 25, 23 and 17 against the Spurs in a seven game series. But could not replicate that gritty performance when the Heat faced the Spurs again the next year due to similar ailments.
Miami missed the playoffs after LeBron’s departure last year, but they currently are back in the playoff mix as the season eases into the stretch run.
On Sunday, Wade will participate in his 12th NBA All-Star game, and yet everybody is either caught up in Kobe Bryant retiring or in the blitzkrieg offense of the Golden State Warriors.
But Wade ain’t the type of guy to sweat that type of stuff anyway. He’s trying to calculate the path that he and his team must take through a surprisingly stout Eastern Conference to make it to the playoffs.
Knowing what type of competitor he is, I'm Sure he's hoping to face off against LeBron James and the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals.
No disrespect to Klay Thompson, James Harden and any of the other top-tier two guards, but none of them have as much heart, tenacity, are as clutch or as good a defender who possesses as much guile as Wade.
Give this man his props!
A first ballot Hall of Fame player should never be so slept on while he’s still averaging 19 points, four rebounds and five assists per game while shooting over 45 percent from the field at 34 years old.
He's a 12-time All-Star, 3-time NBA Champion and former NBA scoring champ, but gets treated like an NBA afterthought. It's utterly disrespectful and needs to stop.