Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dwyane Wade is The Next Michael Jordan, and Not in A Good Way

I have made my dislike of professional basketball pretty well known to anybody who associates with me. Never was this better demonstrated than last night when I watched all nine innings of the Marlins-Giants game, opting for that over the entire first half of the Heat's playoff match-up with Detroit. But I came to yet another revelation last night as I watched Miami take one more step towards their first Finals appearance: I don't like them either.


Now, anyone who knows me knows I pretty much only root for underdogs. And the Heat, at least at the beginning of this series, were definitely not the favorites. But they are the type of team I don't like: That is a team with superstars. Since the fall of the Laker Dynasty, the NBA has gotten a lot better. The team game has started to return and the champions have been teams like Detroit, whose first title team lacked an All-Star, and San Antonio, a team without a marketable superstar (Tim Duncan is about as dynamic as a paperclip). While commentators constant adoration of Duncan got a little old, it was nice to see teams winning championships that were not media darlings. But now come the Heat, a group led by the biggest of all big-market forces in Shaq and the NBA's new poster boy, Dwyane Wade. Both guys are likable, both guys are talented, and both will reap millions if the Heat win it all. The problem is, should the Heat win, the NBA model will once again change to a "let's find a star and win with him" game rather than a "let's find a bunch of guys who play their roles well and win" game. Michael Jordan had the same effect and almost completely ruined the game. Had it not been for the Pistons and Spurs, the NBA would still be unwatchable.

If the Heat win, every quick kid is going to hog the ball and insist he is the next "D-Wade." Every big guy is going to insist on getting "fed" and act like he is the next Shaq. Not that they aren't already, but it will lead to another generation of "me first" players as opposed to team-oriented guys. This is arguably why the world consistanly beats us at basketball since the concept of a team game was lost as soon as Jordan got his first shoe deal. If teams like Detroit, who play that team style of basketball, dominate the NBA for the next ten years or so, perhaps they can undo a lot of the damage that Jordan did. The Heat winning will just further validate the "I can make acrobatic shots and therefore I am the best player ever" philosophy that made the post-Jordan era perhaps the worst since the late-70's.

And while you can't dislike Dwyane Wade, I am entirely tired of hearing about how AMAZING he is. We get it. He's good. Can we talk about something else? Please? It's like watching any Packer game and listneing to them drone on and on and on about Brett Favre. I'm sure Bill Walton is happy the Heat are winning as he will have someone to verbally fellate during the finals. I'm not sure what Bill Walton would do during a superstar-less chamionship series. Perhaps shut up, which would be a blessing for us all.

So, again, I am coming out of the closet. Go Pistons! You are good for basketball. I like Dallas, too, as they also lack that one player who everyone loves to suck off (Dirk Nowitzki is constantly criticized for his lack of defense, although this year he has been vastly improved) and would be a good team to see win as well. Maybe even better than Detroit since they actually try and, you know, score. But if the Heat win, and God forbid win multiple championships, it will put team basketball back to 1998 and we will again be thrust into the "me" era that just recently seemed to be subsiding.

14 Comments:

At 4:32 PM, Anonymous J Rodge said...

Do you even watch the games? Dwyane Wade is shooting almost 70% and taking under 15 shots a game. That isn't being a ball hog. The Pistons won one championship and aren't the standard for how to build a team. You're an idiot and a hater who thinks he is cool for liking losers.

 
At 5:43 PM, Anonymous J said...

I agree w/j rodge. Stop making up facts to support your argument that doesn't make sense. Wade is taking 1/3 of the shots Kobe does w/nearly the same ppg. he didn't take a shot in the entire 3rd quarter.

If anything, the Heat are incredible b/c they're composed of superstars (or at least stars by name recognition) who KNOW THEIR ROLES. Gary Payton not starting? Antoine Walker isn't the center of the team? Shaq conceding to Wade? The best player taking 12 shots a game? Jason Williams rarely shooting and solely used for distributing the ball? If Posey and Udonis aren't role players, I don't know who are.

If you can't accept a humble, no-frills superstar who's concern is to make the team better (he is waaaay more team-first than LeBron), then who can you accept? Don't get me wrong--Doleac is my boy--but Wade doesn't complain, bitch, jaw at opponents or possess the annoying characteristics of MJ.

 
At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Sober Mormon Joe 'Pray' said...

first off the, Piston won a championship against Kobe and Shaq, and then lost last year to the Spurs. Not a one year wonder by any means. They play team ball and that was what made them exciting to watch, and the fact that they dictated the tempo. How many teams did Chauncey Billups play for before finding his niche in Detroit. Point White Dade. Granted I'd rather watch the playoffs than baseball in May ... boring. I don't see why he hates Dwayne Wade though, the kid played four years of college, and is having a great career. If the Heat had Lebron James could you imagine what a big circle jerk that would be? Dwayne Wade pales in comparison, when comparing hype.

 
At 6:25 PM, Blogger T. said...

I wouldn't call MJ a ball hog. He was worse when he first went pro, but under Phil Jackson he did relinquish a lot of the scoring duties and made the rest of the Bulls better. The problem is that with a talent like Jordan, even holding back looks like ballhogging. But under Jackson's system everybody was contributing, from Kerr and Armstrong from the outside, Perdue throwing his body around in the center, Pippen adding big numbers, they contributed as much as they wanted to. To force Jordan to radically scale back his contributions for the sake of some idea of forced egalitarianism is just crazy.

Jordan's strength is that he knew when to take over and when to take a backseat. That's maturity. The problem with the superstar era came when you had immature people like Kobe who didn't understand when to take control and when to rely on their teammates.

And as others have pointed out, Dwyane Wade knows his role, doesn't take that much shots, has paid his dues and is relatively humble. I think you missed the mark with this piece, buddy.

 
At 6:39 PM, Anonymous rumandpopcorn said...

It's hard to pick on Dwyane Wade, agreed, he's possibly the best player in the league. White Dade's not saying Dwyane Wade is the problem is the future successions of Dwyane Wade wannabes that is the problem.

As great as Michael Jordan was, guys trying to be just like him without understanding that he mastered the fundamentals, worked extremely hard, and was ruthlessly competitive helped kill the league. You know, guys who can win a dunk contest but couldn't make an open jumper to save their lives. The lack of fundamentals was helping with the league's demise.

Personally, I think Wade isn't going to be the guy you have to worry about as much as LeBron James. Not only has he been anointed the league's next great player, he's seemingly done it without any problems--which makes him an anomaly, like Jordan. But that won't mean bad players won't think "I'm as good as LeBron, I should play right away" and not work on their games. And bad general managers won't think that if they can get their hands on one superstar, they can turn things around. The hype machine isn't behind Wade the way they are behind LeBron.

 
At 6:44 PM, Blogger quint said...

im not sure what era of basketball you're pining for with this post, but every decade and every championship team with the possibly exception of detroit's 04 team has go to superstars who are expected to make shots in the clutch and flat out take over the game.

duncan, kobe and shaq, michael, isaiah, magic/kareem/worthy, bird, moses, havlicek, and on and on... superstars with a good supporting cast win championships and they always have. and michael is the greatest example of a superstar learning how to win; he didnt win a title until he settled down and played with a good running partner in pippen. michael won titles because he knew "me first" didn't work.

and about wade... come on. this guy had a triple double in the ncaa tournament; in no way is he a me first guy. he averaged nearly 7 assists the last two seasons, and nearly every time he goes to the basket, you're just as likely to see a lob to shaquille or a cross court pass to a three point shooter. arguably, the two best players in the league right now are wade and lebron james, both of whom are triple double threats every night. wade is great, and we should talk about that, because he's not snarling and taking 50 shots a night like kobe bryant. he's scoring 30 points, getting 8 rebounds, and giving 7 assists at about 6'3".

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger Diesel said...

WD, I'm going to have to agree with most of the comments here. What games are you watching? Beyond the fact that D. Wade is probably the easiest superstar to root for since Magic, the Pistons are virtually impossible to watch. Apparently, "team basketball" is a euphemism for "thuggery." Even Rasheed's crazy ass isn't enough to make me watch. All the while, the Suns and the Mavs are continuing the trend of the Suns having the most entertaining playoff run since I can remember. I know they're on wicked late for you, but tivo that shit, holmes.

But, yeah, in general, the NBA sucks.

 
At 2:04 PM, Blogger Ale8one said...

good post da(u)de.

 
At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Cliff said...

Yeah, while I think you make a bit of a valid point about how the U.S. style of basketball is often flawed in it's overall "team" aspect I think you used a terrible example to support your argument.

Just because the Heat have big name players doesn't mean they don't play well as a team, and aren't exciting to watch. They have a major inside presence, 2 or 3 guys that have a good perimeter game, a few solid forwards, and several bench players that play a nice role. And the trump card for them is they have a guy who can at all times create his own offense and get to the hoop almost everytime. THAT is what the Pistons lack, and that's why they are currently the inferior team.
So who is the ball hogging, bad for basketball performer for the Heat. Wade? the guy who also averages 6 RPG and 7 assists?...and also happens to be shooting at 70% efficiency over 4 games?

In just about any sport at any level there is a dominant performer that the games revolve around. Would it be a better game, and more impressive Heat team if all 12 players were given an equal amount of shots and playing time? And unfortunately Kobe learned the hard way in game 7 against the Suns about trying to make everybody happy.

Face it, you're making up these crap excuses so you can root against the hometown favorite again. I just hope the Marlins don't go on a 15 game win streak anytime soon, cause then you probably won't want to watch those games either and we'll have to drive to Tampa to see your kind of team.

 
At 3:11 PM, Blogger White Dade said...

OKay, I have not read all the comments heretofore, but I need to make something VERY clear here: I do not, once rip on Wade for being a ball-hog or me-first player in this post. Read it again. There is not one negative thign said about Wade. I think I even said you can't NOT like him. My problem is that all you see when you see coverage of the Heat are his acrobatic shots and clutch outside jumpers. And thatis what should be shown, since a Udonis Haslem rebound is not exactly SPortcenter material. The problem is that should the Heat win, that's what young players are all going to try and do instead of focusing on a Team game that the PIstons or Spurs or every team in Europe owuld promote. Wade actually gets it, and really do did Jordan who was one of the best defenders ever, but it is their glorification and subsequent copycats that ruin the game. Wade is great, I like Shaq too, if you've ever heard me talk about him. What facts did I make up? Show me.

 
At 3:14 PM, Blogger White Dade said...

Yeah, I tihnk Ali is the only person who gets it.

I reiterate, I like unheralded, dirty, nasty underdog teams who nobody makes a big deal aobut and you don't see hocking shoes and soda every five minutes. The NBA, as I've stated, is really just a nine month long commercial, and superstars winning just adds fuel to the fire. Detroit dominating proves that marketing doesn't win chamionships, and, to a certain degree, so does San Antonio, or maybe even Dallas. Even though they got thoroughly trounced last night.

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger Bad at Life said...

I totally, totally agree about Wade (although I disagree about Jordan). As Dade keeps pointing out, there is absolutely no doubt that Wade is an amazing player. But I don't think he deserves all of this elaborate non-stop praise.

Personally, I think that the most amazing thing about jordan was the fact that he was able to make the role players around him play like all stars. To some extent, Lebron does the same. Wade, on the other hand, is surrounded by allstar players--including one of the most dominant centers to ever play the game. Like the '04 Lakers, the Heat are so stacked that it would be shocking if they fail to go the distance--and that's just not fun to watch.

 
At 6:28 PM, Anonymous J said...

"NBA, please think of the children? Why won't anyone think of the children?!"

That's your point?? Pretty much the reason I watch sports on tv rather than head down to see random pick-up games is b/c the spectacular. I am awed by great plays: beautiful outside shots, acrobatic layups, great D's and rebounds. I appreciate proper box-outs, good hard picks and the timely preventative foul (my speciality) but I could go to the local playground and see that.

And I don't know where you and bad at life are getting your ideas, but the Heat are not the Lakers of a few yrs ago: they aren't favored to win the NBA title. In fact, they have the worst record of any remaining team...but whatever. Check the odds--they are not favored over a team that had one of the best regular seasons ever (aren't they an underdog story?).

Has anyone seen the Cleveland Lebrons play? He has reached epic proportions of media dick-slurping...Wade has dramatically less.

I will now begin a hunger strike in hopes that Dwayne and the rest of the NBA stop making athletic shots, and begin being "dirty, nasty, and hustle-y". This way I may love something in my image.

 
At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Post. I agree about Wade, but it's hard to compare today's players with MJ. But i think Kobe Bryant and Lebron James are more like MJ. Also Tracy McGrady is.

 

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