As he prepares for his Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement tonight, NBA legend Dwyane Wade is thinking back on his marvelous sports career, from his humble beginnings in Chicago to his triumphs at Marquette and the legacy that he built in Miami.
For NBA fans, it's the last stretch that matters most, as the former No. 5 pick dazzles spectators with electrifying athleticism, cougar-like grace, clutch shots and championship victories.
A three-time NBA champion, Wade's most impressive season was arguably in 2005-06, when he led the Miami Heat to and through the Finals just three years after being drafted. Although the Heat's acquisition of future Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal was quite literally a big boost to their franchise, it was Wade who commandeered the championship run with a team-high 28.4 points per game in the 2006 NBA Playoffs (10.0 points per game higher than O'Neal).
It's no wonder then why when asked which of the championships is his favorite, he doesn't pick one that he won beside best friend LeBron James, or against arguably the greatest power forward and dynasty of all-time in Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.
Winning as the lead actor
“2006,” Dwyane Wade answers when asked which was his favorite championship (per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald).
“It’s the first and individually I had a lot to do with it,” Wade says, alluding to the reduced role he took in the LeBron James years in order to accommodate his arrival in Miami. “… Everybody doesn’t have the same goals… I wanted to be known as a champion… No matter what happened for the rest of my career, I checked that one off my list and I did it as a lead actor, as well. That meant something to me.”
Doubling down on the importance of his lead role during the 2006 NBA Finals, Wade ends his answer with one simple message. A simple truth.
“… All the things I knew about the game, you had to be a lead actor to be in this class that I’m in now,” Wade says. “So 2006 definitely will go down as my favorite child of all my trophies.”
For comparison's sake, Wade averaged 19.4 points per game in the last two championships he would win, playing role much like the one that Shaquille ONeale held with the Heat in the playoffs during his early 30s.