The Dwyane Wade Story

This is a No-Look-Pass guest post from Hardwood Posters – which dishes out professionally framed, authentic NBA artwork from California.

It’s difficult to imagine now that he’s become one of the NBA’s best players, but after an impressive senior year at Harold L. Richards High School in Chicago, Dwyane Wade received scholarship offers from only three schools.

The lack of major interest in Wade was predominantly due to academic issues, which would also cost him his freshman season as a Marquette Golden Eagle.

Many would fold in surrender after being told that they were ineligible to play their first year of college ball, but throughout his career Wade has shown his strength of character by refusing to give up when faced with an obstacle.

Instead, Wade focused his energy on both his game and his education, and he joined the Marquette squad for the 2001-2002 season determined to make up for lost time.

Wade led Marquette in scoring with 17.8ppg as a Sophomore and the following season established himself as one of the best players in all of college basketball, earning All-American honors while leading the Golden Eagles to a Final Four appearance. He declared shortly thereafter for the stacked 2003 NBA Draft and the Miami Heat eagerly took him with the fifth overall pick.

Despite being somewhat overshadowed by fellow rookies LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, Wade immediately made his presence known in the professional ranks, averaging 16.2ppg and leading the Heat to the second round of the playoffs in his first season. He soon became one of the quickest ballhandlers in the league, using a deft crossover that would allow him to pull up before stumbling defenders or use his speed and leaping ability to attack the rim.

The 2004 offseason featured the arrival of future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal in a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. Wade was forced to adapt his playing style to fit with O’Neal’s large frame and even larger personality. He gladly accepted this challenge and instantly jelled with his new big man, making his first All-Star game in 2005 and leading the Heat into the NBA Finals the following season against the Dallas Mavericks.

After dropping the first two games of the Finals, Wade found his team down by 13 points in the fourth quarter of Game 3. Fortunately for the Heat faithful Wade thrived under the pressure of the big stage, and he responded by scoring 15 points in the quarter to lead Miami to a stirring comeback win en route to a 4-2 series win.

Wade averaged 34.7ppg in the series to capture the Finals MVP trophy.

The next five years had their ups and downs for Dwyane Wade – the successes of a scoring title and Olympic Gold Medal were offset by a series of frustrating injuries and disappointing team results.

Miami’s fortunes would turn during the summer of 2010, when all-star free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh agreed to sign with the Heat (with some convinced that Wade’s salesmanship deserved much of the credit for the two joining the team).

With the best pair of teammates he’d ever played with, Wade faced a new challenge; even when he played alongside O’Neal, Wade was able to dominate ball possession and let the offense run through him. With James on board, Wade had to suppress his ego and play the role of second (and occasionally third) option. Once again he was up to the task and helped the Heat to three straight NBA Finals, including championship wins in the past two seasons.

Through academic ineligibility, injuries, and the repeated need to adapt his game to his teammates, Dwyane Wade has consistently had to overcome obstacles to achieve greatness. Success must be earned, and he continues to do just that.

It wasn’t easy, but that’s what makes him Dwyane Wade.

Check out the artwork here: Dywane Wade – If it were easy

Here’s How To Become A #MarchMadnessVIP

Want to become a #MarchMadnessVIP? Then you need to check out PrimeSport.

PrimeSport is the only official source for NCAA Tournament tickets. They have secured the rights to be the Official Ticket & Hospitality Provider of the NCAA® and they are going to provide basketball fans with a fans one-stop shop for game tickets, private suites, pregame hospitality, and travel to every round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and Men’s Final Four®. You can find tickets for games from the First Four in Dayton, OH all the way to the Final Four in Dallas, TX.

They do a great job of making tickets available to fans without gouging them with high prices.

If you’re heading to the Final Four in Dallas they will handle everything from your tickets, hotel and travel details.

PrimeSport has made it easy for fans can follow their team from the very first tip-off, all the way to the Final Four at AT&T Stadium.

While the first few days of the NCAA Tournament is where top seeds get booted and Twitter goes crazy, the Final Four is where things really heat up for teams and fans and PrimeSport has you covered. PrimeSport is the Official Ticket & Hospitality Provider of the NCAA® and offers fans an opportunity to be a VIP at the Final Four with premium game tickets, private suites, and access the official VIP in-stadium hospitality party hosted by Bill Walton and John Salley.

They also have travel packages to help you get from your home to the arena. You can choose from staying at Embassy Suites at Dallas Market, Dallas Sheraton or the Omni at Dallas Convention Center.

VIP in-stadium hospitality includes upscale food presentations, open premium bar, live entertainment and much more.

Yes, you read that right: open premium bar.

Plus, with Bill Walton and John Salley to joke around with, even if the game is a dud you won’t be bored.

Toronto Raptors Are Playing With Fire

The Toronto Raptors are currently sitting atop the Atlantic Division and seven games above .500. While most basketball fans would like their basketball money-lines, their inconsistent style of play have them as a risky bet moving forward.

Fans are elated because the team has one of the easiest schedules the remainder of the season because the combined win percentage of the Raptors’ opponents for the remainder of the season is .453.

On top of that, the team survived a tough early schedule and Toronto is 26-13 since Rudy Gay last played for them which is tied for the 2nd-most wins in the NBA in that time (since December 8).

Things look great, right? Wrong.

Against the Chicago Bulls they dug a hole early when they gave up 31 points in the first quarter. They clawed back after holding Chicago to 39 combined points in the second (17 points) and third quarters (22), but the sluggish start doomed them.

Then against Cleveland they only scored 16 points in the first quarter and had to rely on 37 points in the third quarter to steal the win.

Slow starts hurt them once again when they only scored 19 points against Orlando. Lucky for them they held Orlando to 17 points in the first quarter while exploding for 36 points in the third quarter.

Sure, the team is 7-3 over their past ten and appear to have an easy schedule to close out the season, but things are far from easy moving forward. Toronto needs to find a way to start games strong, play hard on both ends of the court and find some sort of consistency.

If not, Toronto’s surprising season will end in disappointment.

A Look At The NBA After The All Star Break

Most NBA teams have approximately 30 games left but there are still a lot left to be decided.

Well, in the Western Conference at least.

According to the favorite odds and lines on the All–Star Weekend in the past week or so, the Eastern Conference looks to be a two-team race with the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat running away with the conference. Both teams look poised to meet up again in the Eastern Conference Finals. It doesn’t take NBA post All-Star Weekend betting tips to know that the Toronto Raptors or Chicago Bulls don’t pose a legitimate threat to either of those teams.

But going back to the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a lot of question marks surrounding them. Head coach Scott Brook has shown a willingness to bounce Kendrick Perkins out of his starting five, only to put him back in again.

There’s also questions about when Russell Westbrook will return to the court and if he will be able to stay healthy. After going under the knife three times in the past 12 months there are genuine concerns about whether his body can hold up.

The current conference champs, the San Antonio Spurs, might be playing their last season with Tim Duncan as whispers of The Big Fundamental retiring after this season were started by George Karl this week. Throw into the mix that Tony Parker is out for an undetermined period of time and the Spurs have their fair share of question marks surrounding them too.

The Los Angeles Clippers are trying to grab the torch but their lack of depth have them in the mix to add some key pieces over the next 24 hours.

Portland started off the season great but have come back to earth with a hard thud. They are 4-6 in their past 10 games and have shown when their three-point shots aren’t falling they are a beatable team.

On top of that, Portland’s defense has looked shaky.

The Houston Rockets are probably the most likely team to supplant Oklahoma City or San Antonio, but they need to address their need for a stretch power forward still. They are putting Omer Asik out there as trade bait but it remains to be seen of a team like the Philadelphia 76ers will bite and trade them Thaddeus Young.

How Technology Has Made Basketball Better

When James Naismith invented basketball back in 1891, it was a completely different game from what it is today. In fact, the first game of “basket ball” ever played had nine players – not five – and used a soccer ball, not a ball designed specifically for the game like we have today. Yes, the famous peach baskets were really there, but the original 13 rules that Naismith set out for the game would make it hard to recognize today. To start with, the ball could only be moved up the court by passing – dribbling wasn’t allowed – and every basket was followed by a jump-off at center court. It’s amazing how far things have come from that first game at Springfield College.

One of the biggest forces for change in basketball has been technology. For instance, think about just how different the game is today now that we have the instant replay. While some purists still struggle with this, the truth is that it makes for a fairer game that is determined by the skill of the players, rather than the referee’s ability to see the play. This is a relatively recent innovation – the instant replay only came in for the 2002/2003 season after what happened in the Western Conference finals the previous season. Anyone who remembers the number of wrong calls that were made in Game 6 of the series between the Lakers and the Kings – and the allegations of corruption that followed – will know exactly how important the instant replay is for the game.

Another perfect example of how technology has made basketball immeasurably better is the breakaway rim. Back in the early 1980s, it seemed that the backboard was being shattered every second game. Not only was this dangerous, it led to long delays and some games were even canceled. Of course, it is spectacular when a backboard shatters, but when the fans have been sitting there for an hour waiting for the backboard to be replaced, it’s not so much fun anymore. When the breakaway rim was introduced in 1983, this put a stop to the madness. Rather than the backboard shattering every time a player grabbed the rim, now the rim simply bent and snapped back into place when it was released. It’s pretty rare to see a shattered backboard nowadays, and the game is much better because of it.