Dwyane Wade had an interview with Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick Friday about what lies next for him and the one team he had played for his entire NBA career, the Miami Heat.
One part was especially interesting. Wade said that last year was not fun even with all the accomplishments:
“It was great, you know, we went to the Finals four years in a row, and it was everything we wanted from that standpoint, but sometimes throughout that run, at certain times, it just wasn’t fun,” Wade said. “Individually, it was great having certain relationships and having my best friend here with me, but all of us didn’t have fun all the time.
“I think now I’m at the point where I want to enjoy the game. Because once I’ve won three championships and been so successful, you’ve got to have something to play for. And I want to be able to play for my teammates and just the joy of the game.”
When he was pushed further on why it wasn’t fun:
“I don’t know,” Wade said. “It’s hard to say, man, because you want it. We wanted it. So it’s hard to say that. You don’t know exactly what’s going to come with it, but we put ourselves in that position. But sometimes you can put too much on yourself, all of us, and it becomes a black cloud around. Last year wasn’t fun. I mean, there was no stretch of it [that was] fun. That whole season, to me, it’s amazing we made it to the Finals. It’s just honest.
“Just this year, coming in, I can see, even in the coaches, there’s just a different renewed focus and energy. No one knows what it’s going to lead to. No one knows if that’s going to lead to a Finals win or Finals loss or not the Finals at all. But right now it’s good for everyone to come in every day and want to be here.”
The Heat were going for a three-peat. At that point, the core had to be drained with the pressures of winning a third straight championship. They obviously weren’t as healthy as they were in past years and complacency would naturally set in. It’s even worse when they ran into a basketball machine that was the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals.
And no, it’s not a shot at LeBron James when Wade said that there’s a renewed focus and energy. It’s a whole new challenge for Wade and his team. Wade is older and it’s up to him and Chris Bosh to lead the team without the four-time MVP winner. The pressure will definitely be less than that four-year run they had due to diminished expectations.
It will be an interesting season for the Heat. Maybe they’ll surprise everyone this coming year.
Dwyane Wade pic courtesy of Getty Images.