I read this book a few years ago where Jesus is playing basketball and he calls himself “D Wade” before knocking down a jumper.
That was interesting on a couple of levels:
- Jesus being such a fan that He calls out His favorite player’s name after shooting
- Jesus didn’t call Himself “LeBron”
But if everybody suffers and strives, Dwyane Wade got most of his suffering over with early coming during that period that he was so broke as a young boy his older sister Tragil had to trick him into moving in with their more prosperous father.
Lots of hard work later, and we’ve got a 5th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft.
Now, if you don’t know what the expression “playing with house money” means, it’s this: in any gambling setting, once you’ve turned a profit and you’re now gambling exclusively with your winnings and not with any of the money you started with, you’re playing with the house’s money.
In these situations there’s no pressure.
On a personal level, as a married dude coming into the NBA, it looked like D Wade was playing with house money relationship-wise, being able to dodge the mos and hos that obligatorily come with celebrity status.
When his first marriage didn’t work out, he ended up with Gabrielle Union, absolutely the most ripe piece of chocolate beauty to come along Hollywood’s way since Judy Pace; and that’s saying something!
Career wise, D Wade was supposed to be the also-ran of his draft, “solid”, while names like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were supposed to have the kind of stuff that could lift moribund franchises to glory.
Next thing you know, if there’s been a Godfather in the NBA over the last dozen years, it’s certainly been D Wade who Shaq, LeBron, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen have all come to for the favor of getting them rings.
Notice: he didn’t leave Miami, they all left where they were.
In fact, D Wade’s so good at getting rings for visitors it’s a wonder that free agents sign anywhere else.
And from D Wade’s first ring on, his whole career has been played with house money.
Consider: only one out of every 30 players a year wins a Chip, and some teams, like the 90’s Bulls 00’s Lakers and Spurs from the last 3 decades don’t play fair and share, so you’ve got way less of a chance of ever getting one, much less the 3 that D Wade has.
Factor in that the average NBA career is 4.8 years and D Wade is in his 13th.
Factor in that right now, he’s at 23.8 ppg, with 4.9 boards, 5.8 assists and shooting .488 from the floor, easy HOF.
And the biggest reason D Wade’s been playing with house money for years is that there were never any demands, real or self-imposed, that he live up to anybody else’s legacy.
Neither LeBron nor Kobe can say the same.
That’s why D Wade’s game looks as effortless as it does.
Again, when you’re playing with house money, there’s no pressure.
So cool in fact, that the only fair comparison, since comparing anybody to Jordan has become so trite it’s slightly vulgar, is the one some capitalistic genius came up with to make a Gatorade commercial.
The on-court styles and demeanors almost perfectly match.
And while The Iceman led the NBA in scoring 4 times and was at different moments, teammates with Dr. J and Michael Jordan, he never won a ring.
Too bad there wasn’t a Miami Heat then.
All Ice woulda had to do was come through.