Despite having to miss the 2012 Olympics following knee surgery and "struggling" (relative to his typical brilliance, of course) through an injury-plagued postseason, Dwyane Wade has been a cheery sort of late. Winning his second career ring and first with friend-o-mates LeBron James and Chris Bosh will do that to a person, as does the knowledge that he just about runs south Florida at this point even with James' increasing presence (and growing game) on hand.
Like a lot of people, though, Dwyane can't seem to get over the reaction to his team's 2010 inception, and the on-court fallout that came as the team trudged through the 2010-11 season as the NBA's decided Black Hats. You can tell as much after reading an interview with Wade from Maxim that has been bouncing around the Internet on Friday:
What was it like to be the bad guy after so many years as one of the most popular players in the league?
It was weird. I mean, I'd never been booed before! And I felt like we'd done something unselfish, so for fans to think we'd done something bad was indescribable.
Here's the issue, Dwyane, and we hope that 26 months on you'll start to understand it:
I'm going to make a handy list of what NBA fans tend to remember when they see you walk out on the court against one of the other 29 teams in the NBA other than the Miami Heat.
1). "The Decision."
2). A bloated and embarrassing spectacle, a celebration really, in the days the triptych of signings that brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami alongside a re-signed Dwyane Wade. One that promised in upwards of seven championships to Miami months before the team was to take to the court for its first game.
3). LeBron James' ill-conceived "The Decision" special.
4). The fact that the 2009-10 Player Efficiency Rating leaders at three different all joined one team under Pat Riley in Miami, possibly colluding for years on the way toward that meeting point, giving the rest of the NBA a wearying core to try and counter.
5). "The Decision."
6). That this team could be pretty awesome.
7). "The Decision."
(Moving down a bit …)
3,817). The fact that James, Wade, and Bosh all took slightly less than the maximum contracts they could legally get in order to all fit under the cap and save a little space to sign the ultimately disappointing Mike Miller.
3,818). "The Decision."
3,819). The fact that Dwayne Wade's shots per 36 minutes of play went down two and then one attempts per that time frame in the two seasons following the acquisition of Bosh and James, as he unselfishly stepped to the side to accommodate his new teammates.
3,820). "The Decision."
3,821). Dexter Pittman.
Bad jokes aside, it must have been weird. But because those unselfish acts are so far removed from the over the top introduction the Heat staged following the acquisitions, it's only natural to forget that the team's three players took slightly less.
While still making eight figures a year. In a state with lax income tax laws.
Wade had taken in his fair share of league-wide catcalls since joining the league in 2003 and immediately vaulting to stardom; especially after he led a somewhat-reviled (aging Shaq, Antoine Walker, James Posey, a still-snappin' Gary Payton) Miami Heat team to the 2006 NBA title. Nothing met the sort of invective he took in following the formation of the current Heat incarnation, though, and as flip answers to laddie mags go calling this "weird" and "indescribable" isn't far off.
You kind of lose that footing, Dwyane, when you preen in front of thousands some 23 months before winning your first championship with that crew. Or 11 months, even, had the Heat pulled out the title in 2011. We at Ball Don't Lie have tried to be pretty understanding of the whole switch, continuously pointing out that all three members took less money to make things happen for a team that would only get a "so? They're supposed to win it" shoulder shrug had it combined to take the title, but this is sort of the payoff.
Booing would be the payoff, we're certain, even if the team had handled the acquisitions tactfully and respectfully and out of the public view. Miami — the franchise that greeted Shaquille O'Neal's arrival with a flat-bed parade through town with Shaq firing a Super Soaker into the crowd — just doesn't do things that way. That's why people boo.
They also boo because you're good. Because your team can win by 25, every other night. That's not weird. That's to be expected. Expected, say, 41 times plus the playoffs starting about a month and a half from now.
There's not much else to the interview, but there are several pictures of half-naked woman at the link to the Q and A, in case you were having a tough time finding such things on the Internet.