Dwyane Wade has not only been a starter in the NBA for most of his career, but he’s spent much of it as a true superstar. Even when LeBron James joined him in Miami, most Heat fans still considered it “Wade’s Team.” Now that the duo is once again wearing the same jersey — this time in Cleveland — the situation is much different.
Wade, almost 36-years-old now, has definitely lost a stop in the last few years. As the Cavs went through some early season struggles, Wade himself suggested to the coaching staff that maybe he should be coming off the bench, giving J.R. Smith back his starting spot. A lot of people second guessed the move, but it’s worked out wonderfully. Not only is Wade putting up better numbers as a sixth man, but the Cavaliers have righted the ship. They now sport a record of 19-8 (going 14-1 in their last 15 games), putting them right on the tail of the Raptors for the second spot in the Eastern Conference.
Wade isn’t concerned about getting reduced minutes. He told Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports that he managed to put his ego aside for the good of the team.
“Look in the mirror man, and that’s what I did,” he said. “Even my ego saying, ‘I’ve been a starter, and I’ve had this kind of career,’ I still wasn’t going to make the best of it just by being in the starting lineup because of my ego.
“So for me, I was, ‘OK, where can you be your better self and how can you enjoy playing the game and be happy playing the game?’ To me, it was just about making the best of my situation and understanding where I was going to be best at.”
We often see aging athletes struggling to hang on and reclaim their glory days. It’s impressive that Wade is able to take a backseat to his teammates for the betterment of the team. If the Cavs are going to challenge Golden State (or the Rockets, Spurs, or Celtics, for that matter), they will need to be firing on all cylinders. Maybe bringing a 12-time All-Star and three-time NBA Champion off the bench will be the thing that propels them to another title.