With a couple of NBA rings, Gabrielle Union as his wifey, and millions made through endorsements one would think Dwyane Wade would be a tad bit complacent. Think again. The 31-year-old "veteran" still puts up 20 PPG, is still hungry for another title, and still collects that endorsement cake (*cues the soundtrack*). We spoke with Flash about the Knicks being contenders in the East, the NBA's "Super Teams" trend, and to his thoughts on the Lakers' struggles this season.
Interview by Ralph Warner (@SoloWarnerBro)
After winning the title last year, do you feel there’s less pressure to perform early on in the season?
You have to work your hardest throughout the year. Every year is different. We’re not the same team we were last year because it’s not last year. We’re trying to learn how to win against teams that got better last year. Throughout this whole season, you’re learning how to win and hopefully we’ll learn enough to win in the playoffs.
Speaking of teams getting better, the Knicks are having a great season thus far. What are your thoughts on them being a legitimate contender?
It’s great for the game. Obviously, they’ve been out for awhile and the basketball world is excited for the Knicks. They beat us twice pretty well with and did it once without Carmelo Anthony. You got to give them their due.
Do you feel that last year’s title justified "The Decision" for you, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh to join forces? Or do you think you'll still face criticism if multiple titles aren't won?
Kobe Bryant won five championships, but all the talk in Lakerland is about how Kobe is shooting too much.
We want to do more work. We understand we are in the world of, "What have you done for me lately?" We won a championship last year, but if we don’t win a title this year then people will always talk about it. Kobe Bryant won five championships, but all the talk in Lakerland is about how Kobe is shooting too much. It’s always going to have to be that. Last year, I think we did something we all wanted to do and fulfilled our dream, but we’re not satisfied with that. People will always say, "what’s next?"
After going through all of the criticism during the 2011 season, what are your thoughts on the Lakers' struggles this season?
For us to get past our early struggles it took sticking together no matter what. We had to get out of our own way. Just because we step onto the court doesn’t mean we are going to win. We have to go out there and we have to win. We figured it out and went to the Finals but we lost. The Lakers haven’t found their game yet. They’re not comfortable winning together yet. It takes time.
What are your thoughts on the "Super Teams" trend in the NBA? Does it benefit or hurt the league?
I personally think it’s great for the league. The game is the biggest it’s ever been. I think people are excited about certain teams and certain players on those teams. The marquee markets have pretty darn good players and that makes it exciting. I think this is the best and most competitive the league has been in quite sometime.
Let’s talk about the Li-Ning shoe deal. What made you sign with that company, and how has the public reacted so far?
I had an unbelievable opportunity. We are all blessed to be able to wear sneakers and be compensated for wearing sneakers and certain brands. I’ve been a part of Converse and Jordan and those relationships were good for me at the time. I think it was time to move onto something different. I had the opportunity to leave and it was a great opportunity for me to build my own legacy and be more a part of.
The response has been pretty good. A lot of people didn’t understand at the beginning of it because of what Jordan stands for as a brand and player. I’m able to do things differently, and hopefully I can bring out some better products and hopefully people want to be involved in what we’re doing.
You posted a picture on Instagram of two Porsches and there was a mention of Batman and Robin in the photo caption. Was yours the black one?
[Laughs.] It wasn’t about me being Batman or him being Robin. It was about being together as a group.
Were you anticipating the reaction the photo received?
Yeah, I got a lot of responses from people. From certain responses, you can tell that people were asking about who plays which role. We'll just let them keep talking.