But going into the 2011-12 season, Wade was front and center as the vocal leader of the Heat. And nobody is more invested in the success of this team than the player who has seen it grow from a lottery squad to a title contender, back to lottery and back to the top again.
He’s not talking (at least publicly) about winning six or seven titles. One more will do for now.
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LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh need more than each other to fulfill the promises made in the summer of 2010, which was the original goal of buying into the all-for-one concept.
They need head coach Erik Spoelstra. They need point guards Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. They need defensive shutdown specialist Shane Battier, big men Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, and wing snipers Mike Miller and James Jones. The best collection of three teammates in the NBA still needs a team to make it happen.
They need the talent, obviously, but also the defense and the clutch shooting and the rebounding and the forced turnovers and the focused resolve when games are on the line. They need the keys to any NBA championship that cannot be bottled: chemistry and continuity. And they need a reason to get up every morning and work toward delivering the results that will ultimately weigh heavier than the hype.
Your job? Just watch, and between searching for a reason not to like the Miami Heat, at least try to realize what you’re witnessing. This is Jordan and Pippen remodeled, with a smoother Rodman on the side. This is Kobe and Shaq being friendly with each other; Earl Monroe, Clyde Frazier and Willis Reed emerging from a human growth chamber. Should you spend all your time nitpicking and complaining about it, you’re going to miss something special.
“Being so close and coming up short, it kind of sparked something in me,” Bosh told reporters after a December training camp session. “We have a short window of time to play this game, so I feel like I can play the best basketball of my life for the next six, seven, eight years. And that’ll be it.”