However, I'm no longer going to focus on Miami's chances to break the record, which others have broken down more extensively. Instead, I concerned myself with one reason I think the Heat will pass Jerry West and Co.'s 33-game winning streak. Here's what I had written:
For a little while after LeBron signed with the Heat, I actually clung to the idea that Wade was the better player, stats be damned. It was sort of a Russell vs. Chamberlain argument. Wade had won a Finals MVP. LeBron had just sulked off the court after a loss in the Eastern Conference Finals. Maybe LeBron put up video-game stats, but Wade knew how to lead a team to a championship. I also had fond memories of Wade carrying a vanilla Marquette team to the 2003 Final Four.
|Wade (left) with Coach Tom Crean and Travis Diener, the team's second-best player.|
Wade has had a terrific year, a career resurgence of sorts. As has happened this season, though, is he doomed to be thoroughly overshadowed by LeBron for the rest of his career?
About midway through his first season in Miami, LeBron pretty clearly established himself as a better player than Wade. Still, as the Heat lost to Dallas in that year's Finals, I couldn't watch LeBron's fourth-quarter meltdowns without feeling a little bad for Wade. Just a few years before, the Finals spotlight had been his and he had seized it completely.
Now, it's as if Wade is an afterthought even though he's -- at worst -- one of the top 10 players in the NBA. This, at a time when the league is enjoying a historic talent boon. Will basketball history simply view Wade as his generation's James Worthy or Scottie Pippen, a guy that won a bunch of championships playing second fiddle to a Top-10 Alltime player?
I wonder if D-Wade ever wishes he could have had another chance at being a Finals MVP. Or if he should have just battled against LeBron for a decade, a la Bird vs. Magic. Does Wade wonder whether he could have become one of those Top-10 Alltimers? Maybe it doesn't matter to him and he's just happy to be part of a historically great team while playing with his buddies. But if Wade ever thinks about any of those things, I'm sure he shakes his head and also thinks, "Wow..."