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.