In the days leading up to the NBA All-Star Break, The Sports Fan Journal has highlighted a player for a week as a way to appreciate the greatness of him as a player and person. This year, we acknowledge Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who has been a remarkable player for 16 years. In his final season, a few of us at TSFJ wanted to share our perspectives on what makes Wade special. The Sports Fan Journal Presents: Flash Week.
Coming into the NBA out of Marquette, Dwyane Wade was hailed as one of the top players of the new era of the league. It wasn’t easy being wedged between the triumphant careers of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, but Wade did more than put a stamp on his era of hoops.
Being great can be a gift and a curse. Paradoxically, players of Wade’s caliber can often be under-appreciated as we grow accustomed to their exploits. Wade is a prodigy of the sport and he has reached the pinnacle of success that few can mirror. Other greats have had stretches of success, but many have never made it look as easy as Wade.
Drake said it best, “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone” and that is the perfect way to narrate the end of Wade’s decorated career.
When thinking all of the great things Wade did on a nightly basis, for me, one fascinating skill stands out, and that’s his ability to block shots. I know you’re thinking, all NBA players block shots, right? In a sense they do, but not in the way that the Mayor of Wade County did it.
Blocks play a huge role in the defense and are a huge momentum boost. Through Wade’s career, we saw many impactful rejections and it’s always a joy to watch them repeatedly.
Who can forget Wade’s block on Dwight Howard?
Or when he met Carmelo Anthony at the rim at MSG, rejecting him into oblivion?
Part of what sets Wade’s ability to block shots apart is the way he protects the rim. There has not been a guard of Wade’s stature that owns the paint defensively in the way that he has. While the league’s premier shot blockers have traditionally been 7-footers who make their living as rim protectors, Wade changed that perception standing at 6-foot-4.
Wade’s ability to use his timing, length, strength and athleticism allowed him to challenge some of the league’s best rim-rockers.
Michael Jordan is the statistical leader for blocks among guards with 893. Dwyane Wade is 2nd of all-time with 868 (and counting). With Father Time not on Wade’s side and with only 27 games left, it’s unlikely that he will pass his childhood idol for the top spot.
While his place among NBA greats is up for debate, his shot-blocking acumen is far and away superior to anyone who played in his position.
Numbers aside, Wade is generally considered the greatest shot-blocking guard to ever play in the NBA. That’s not to slight Michael Jeffrey Jordan, but simply put, the NBA has never seen a shot-blocking guard like the guy who lived up to his nickname.
In D-Wade’s Hall of Fame career, he has unveiled greatness in a myriad of ways. From his unstoppable Euro step to his ability to play huge in big moments, and of course his ability to deny players from getting to the cup, it’s safe to say that he has been a joy to watch for 16 years.
Columbus, Ohio born. Ron is a first-ballot healthy hairline hall of famer. He spent the summer of ‘08 eating calamari pasta because of OJ Da Juiceman. He also loves to write about sports while listening to Sada Baby. Follow him on Twitter @Ron_Hamp