Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill speaks with Miami Heat legend and Utah Jazz minority owner Dwyane Wade about the new generation of NBA stars and why he believes the league is in good hands.
VINCENT GOODWILL: It feels like the league is in a period of transition. You know? LeBron isn't in the playoffs-- he had a great year, but not in the playoffs. Kevin Durant's not in the playoffs. You still got the oldheads like Chris Paul, your good friend, still putting up huge numbers for the Phoenix Suns. But what is it like to see the Jayson Tatums and the Ja Morants and the Luka Doncices of the world stepping up and taking that real estate and sort of ushering the NBA into like, I guess, its next phase, the same way that you did in 2004, 2005 when you took it away from that previous generation?
DWYANE WADE: Yeah, man, I love it. I love it as a fan of m as a historian of the game and someone who's played this game for many years and tried to hold this game up and make it better and bring something to it. I love it. I love watching Luka, this young player who can be, at the end of the day, in the conversation of one of the greats. I love watching Ja Morant because I love the fact that Ja Morant is unapologetically Ja Morant. Like, he's from the trenches and he leads with it but at the same time he's real and he's fun to watch.
For me, as a former player, I think the thing is with us is we like to look at the players now and we like to see who if we could play in their era, right? And so I like to look and say oh, if I was reincarnated and born in this era, I would come back as certain guys. Ja Morant would be one of them. I think that my game was kind of similar, right? And so I look and say oh, OK, I can have success in this area. Cool. And so I enjoy watching him, and he's exciting.
So as a fan, the NBA just continues to get better and better. Right now it's in a more entertaining space, right? This is their league, and as oldheads, it's all oldheads do. We just talk about back in our day, what we didn't do. And I understand that. But at the same time, just like it was our league at a time, it's their league now. And how they want to run it is how they're going to run it, and right now they're running it with a style and with an entertainment that we just haven't seen. And it's, to me, it's exciting.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Would you talk to Ja Morant about how to fall?
Because this dude, he falls really hard. And I know that's something that you got to learn how to do, especially when you're flying through the air. I felt like you had to do that after your first two or three years.
DWYANE WADE: Yeah, I did. And I had to learn how to fall on certain parts of my body. And it's hard. It's hard to, when you're in the air and someone hits you in a certain way mid-air, it's hard to catch yourself. And so sometimes you lead with your arm or you lead with something that can really hurt you. So I tried to learn. But at the end of the day, I remember when I first came to the NBA, everyone told me, "Hey, young fella. You ain't going to be able to hold up if you keep falling like this, if you keep playing reckless like this." And as I respected it, I also told them this is just the way I am. And so if my career is five years or 10 years, I'm going to give you everything I got. And at the end of it, everything I got is going to be good enough.
And so I love the way he's playing. Is his game going to keep evolving? 1000%. But right now, be Ja and go in there and fall around and do all that because you can. But eventually, there's going to come a time where that body ain't going to want to take those hits. And Ja seems like a smart enough player where he will understand that and try to add to his game. But right now what he's doing, let it fly.