Those are the infamous words by LeBron James when he first became a Miami Heat that people will always remember. It was obviously a huge deal at the time due to its cockiness and the fact that it was said before the newly formed trio ever played a single game together on the court. When he said it, we all assumed that James was speaking for himself as well as for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Wade, however, will apparently be satisfied if he gets no more than a third ring. Here’s what he had to say about the matter, from Tim Reynolds of The AP:
“I feel like I need three rings. After that, I’m playing with church’s money,” Wade told The Associated Press. “I’ve always said that if I can end my career with at least three rings … I’ve already had a special career, but it would put me in that special group that only a few can say that they’re in. It would mean a lot. It would mean a lot. It would mean a lot.”
Wade also explained why he deserves more credit than he gets for a number of things, including his overall play and the sacrifices he has made to become who he is today:
“I mean, let’s talk about the obvious,” Wade said. “Guys get older. That’s obvious. Yes, I’ve gotten older. Yes, my game has changed. But let’s talk production. I’m a productive player. My numbers show it. I buy into the efficiency numbers – more than I should and it drives me crazy that I buy into it. I look around the league and see guys shooting 41 percent and they’re getting patted on the back. I’m shooting 52 percent and I’m on the decline?”
“I didn’t want that life anymore,” Wade said. “I want a different life. This is the life that I choose. Sometimes it’s frustrating because I know I’ve got more, but team success is way more fulfilling than the individual. I’ve totally changed my game. I tried to do it for what I feel is the best for this team. Was it the best for me individually? Maybe not. But I did what I think is best for this team.”
“I think the thing that’s going to get us over that hump is really understanding the opportunity that we have and not letting it slip, because this kind of team, this kind of moment, they don’t come around often,” Wade said. “Understanding the importance of this is what we’ll probably have to pull from. This is historic, what we’re embarking on. That’s got to mean something to us as a team. So let’s go.”
Wade has legitimate reasons to feel sour about the topics he covered. It can’t feel good to hear people like Charles Barkley tell the world that Wade has lost a step or two, despite numbers – as he said – proving otherwise. It’s also true that he willingly gave up his role as a superstar in the league by making the decision to team up with LeBron – it was obvious that the best player in the world would take over and claim the team as his own. For someone that that was as established as Wade, it could not have been the easiest of decisions to make.
None of this seems to matter for Wade now that he is a part of the best team in the league, which is what he wanted the most. Wade may not be the superstar that he once was, but he’s certainly building a new legacy for himself as the ultimate winner. It’s good to know that winning another Finals MVP, or any other accolade as an individual, has become a secondary matter to him. Given the fact that the Heat are, by far, the favorites to win it all again this season, he may well be on his way to that third ring he so desires.
Onto other news from around the league:
- Chase Budinger wants to return to the Timberwolves, but only if Rick Adelman is still coaching the team, from Jerry Zgoda of Star Tribune: “Adelman is the reason the Wolves traded the 18th overall pick in last summer’s draft to Houston, where Adelman coached Budinger for three seasons before the pair was reunited in Minnesota. He’s also the reason a California kid wants to remain on the frozen tundra when he becomes an unrestricted free agent free to sign with any team this summer. “I would like to come back,” he said. “I like the organization. I like the staff. I love Adelman.” He saved the most important part for last there. “That’s a big part of it,” he said about the coach who taught a second-round draft pick in 2009 the NBA game. “Our relationship, he knows how I play. I work well in his system. It’s [Adelman’s decision] going to weigh big.”
- Tracy McGrady was shocked to hear from the San Antonio Spurs while he was in “couch potato” mode, from Dan McCarney of San Antonio Express News: “This is unbelievable,” said McGrady, who averaged 5.3 points with Atlanta last season. “It’s a championship organization, something I haven’t really been part of my entire career. I’m very excited. I’m humbled for the opportunity. I’m not sure when I’ll play or if I’ll play. That’s not the place for me (to complain). I just know when my number is called, I’ll be ready.”. McGrady, 33, said he was “shocked” when Popovich called on Sunday, as he and his family were leaving church, to offer him a job. McGrady said his agent had been in casual contact with the Spurs throughout the season, even as he lit up the Chinese Basketball Association with Qingdao DoubleStar. McGrady had been anticipating a potential call-up to the NBA upon returning to the United States in late February. When that call never came, McGrady said he slid into “couch potato” mode. “I tell you, I got real relaxed,” he said. “I was with my kids because the whole time I was in China, I didn’t see my kids. So I was enjoying my time off. I kind of relaxed a little bit. And out of the blue, here we go. It was a shocker.”