Ever since Dwyane Wade opted to protect his shoulder injury by riding in a wheelchair, I’ve wondered about the man's ability to solve problems, to diagnose issues. What would he do to protect a hurt foot, wear a hat? In the event of a toothache, would be visit a proctologist? And when trying to assess who downed Miami in the Finals, might he overlook the Mavs to instead blame 'the haters’?
DONUT 1: Yes. Yes, he would.
Miami “played off hatred,’’ Wade says in a SiriusXM radio interview with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Heat “wanted to win to spite people" ... and that "I believe that's the reason we didn't win a championship."
Are we all interpreting this correctly? That it wasn’t the Dallas Mavericks who defeated the Heat, but rather "the haters''?
DONUT 2: “The haters’’ certainly exist. They exist because Miami opened the 2010-11 NBA season by crowning themselves future multi-time championships. They exist because in the end, a “king’’ was forced to realize he wore too few clothes. They exist because Wade -- the man who once questioned Dirk Nowitzki as a player and as a leader -- could not escape The UberMan’s wrath or match his brilliance. They exist because the Mavericks played with a certain level of “hatred,’’ too. … and won because of it.
DONUT 3: "Remember '06!'' Jason Terry cawed into the ear of Nowitzki during the fourth quarter of the Game 6 title-clincher in Miami, a game in which Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson claims LeBron and Wade quit prematurely.
Once upon a time, maybe the Mavericks celebrated prematurely, too. They owned a two-and-seven-eighths-game lead over this same Heat franchise in 2006. It can be argued that Miami was allowed back into that series because Wade was allowed (by the referees) to embody The Second Coming of Michael Jordan, with a historic array or bizarrely favorable calls and marches to the free-throw line.
DONUT 4: Having let that series slip away, Nowitzki and company were focused on revenge. Every time LeBron and Wade slapped at him, he whacked back. When they mocked him for playing while sick, Dirk labeled them “childish and ignorant.’’
Remember their act? Remember Dirk's measured response?
DONUT 5: When Dallas sealed the deal after a Game 6 during which Nowitzki was just 1-of-12 in the first half (before returning to his position as the best player on the floor by finishing with a game-high 27 points and winning the series MVP), he whacked again.
“This is a win for team basketball,” Dirk said, the insinuation apparent to all.
DONUT 6: Miami was defeated in every way by everybody. Dirk was a better player than Wade. Jason Terry was a more clutch scorer than LeBron. Jason Kidd accumulated something-to-nothing assist-to-turnover ratios. Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler dominated with defense and disposition. JJ Barea and Brian Cardinal became unmatchable chess pieces.
Oh, and coach Rick Carlisle, Dirk said, "pushed all the right buttons.''
DONUT 7: The most important button, of course, was Nowitzki. It was The UberMan, not “the haters,’’ who took Miami down – especially in crunch time. Over the course of six games, Dirk scored 62 points in fourth quarters. Miami needed two to match the production of one, as over the course of the series Wade and James combined to score exactly 62.
DONUT 8: To the victors go the spoils, and to the Heat ... well, they come off sounding spoiled. Their players don't get to wear rings. Your favorite players do. (Eventually.) Their fans don't get to wear DB.com Mavs Championship Gear. You do!
DONUT 9: Remind yourself that the star of that series is the same Dirk of whom Wade said in 2007, “(Dirk’s) the reason they lost the championship, because he wasn’t the leader he’s supposed to be in the closing moments.”
See what I mean? Dwyane Wade has a blind spot here. When it comes to analysis, he’s about as deep as a Frisbee.
DONUT 10: The same absence of self-awareness and blame-laying seems to ooze through that organization. Consider LeBron’s NBA Finals press conference in which he also addressed “the haters’’:
“At the end of the day,” LeBron said, “all of the people that were rooting for me to fail, tomorrow they’ll have to wake up and have the same life that (they had) before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems they had today, and I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do.”
And let’s revisit Miami coach Erik Spoelstra series summary: "Neither team deserved this championship more than the other."
DONUT 11: If Miami feels like it was the less-loved team in the NBA Finals, it has only itself to blame. LeBron and Wade had on their side ESPN and Nike and the year’s greatest assemblage of mercenary talent, gained in such a way that it invited demands of tampering investigation … and it still lost.
DONUT 12: And who was on Dallas’ side?
Said Carlisle after it was all over: “I kept having people come up to me the last three or four days (saying), ‘Hey, there are billions of people rooting for you guys.' And we could feel it. … We knew it was very important that we won this series for those reasons. Because of what the game is about, and what the game should stand for.''
And what was that series about? What is this game about? It’s about the victors, not “the haters’’ … unless you are Dwyane Wade and a Miami team still in desperate search for somebody to blame and apparently not in possession of a mirror.