March 17, 2011
Last Sunday, ESPN aired the definitive documentary on Michigan's Fab Five, the most memorable college team of its era. The doc has already created a good deal of controversy, but it's primarily been embraced by NBA players, many of whom were influenced by the swagger and substance of that Wolverines team.
Dwyane Wade(notes) appears to be one of those players, as seen in this explosive dunk over Kendrick Perkins(notes) from Wednesday night's game against the Thunder. After a thrilling spin and ridiculous extension for the dunk, Wade brought out the cabbage patch, the '90s dance craze seen throughout the Fab Five movie in highlights, for a little celebration. It was a nice gesture towards Fab Five member, teammate, and fellow Chicago native Juwan Howard(notes). And, incidentally, it happened to spark a 13-2 run (that included three more dunks) to get the Heat back in the game.
Miami eventually lost the game 96-85, but the play remains important for two reasons. First, it suggests that the Fab Five are entering a new period of cultural relevance, one in which their influence on today's game is explicitly noted instead of just being remembered fondly. Second, while the Heat couldn't come away with the victory, dunks like this one -- and the run that followed it -- serve as a reminder that, when this team is at its best, it has an athletic edge matched by no one. The Heat probably have too many holes to win the championship this year, or even make the finals. But dunks like this one make them tough to count out just yet.
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