For better or for worse, NBA stars are defined by their rings. Championships aren’t the only important metric, but they’re how most players are now judged. It doesn’t matter how good someone is during the regular season, they need titles to be truly considered great.
Dwyane Wade was a superstar in the NBA and throughout his 16-year career in Miami Heat, he won 3 championship rings (2006, 2012, 2013).
To better study that phenomenon, the following article will break down Dwyane Wade’s illustrious career. That will show how the league has shifted as of late, as well as how much of an impact the shooting guard had on Miami as a franchise.
A Quick Start
Coming off of a stellar run at Marquette, Wade burst into the NBA as the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. He had high expectations, as well as large shoes to fill. Going to the Heat was a big step, especially for a city that had never won a ring up until that point.
He didn’t take long to get started. His shooting and driving abilities both translated extremely well to the NBA. He played excellent defense, opened up the Heat’s offense, and allowed everyone around him to thrive. He finished his rookie season with excellent stats as well.
He then followed up a stellar rookie year with an even better sophomore effort. His stats only went up, as did his effort. He made a big push in those two years, getting to the second round of the playoffs as a rookie before losing in the Conference Finals as a sophomore.
It wasn’t until his third year that things came together.
Breaking Through the Wall
Few players have years as strong as Wade’s 2005 season. The shifty guard did a great job on both sides of the court. His defense was almost unmatched, and he averaged a statline of 27.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and nearly 2 steals per game.
His ability to spread the court and attack defenses helped the entire Heat team. Alongside new free agent Shaquille O’Neal, Wade enabled the team to surge through the regular season. They finished with a 52-30 record and snapped up second place in the East.
From there, their high level of play continued. They pushed through the playoffs, cutting down every team in their way before going to the Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. After losing the first two games of the series, they won four straight to capture their first ever title.
That gave Wade his first championship (and first Finals MVP) in just his third year. Where many superstars have to wait a few years before things clicked, he brought success right away.
The Big Three
Unfortunately for Wade, the Heat’s victory against the Mavericks was not a sign of things to come. He suffered various injuries over the next four seasons. That, mixed with multiple trades and free agent losses, led to various disappointing finishes.
Things looked bleak for the Heat, especially after two particularly hard playoff losses in 2008 and 2009, until they landed Lebron James and Chris Bosh in the offseason before 2010. That shift didn’t just infuse them with new fire power, it revitalized Wade’s career.
While many people thought Wade may have peaked too early, the addition of two other superstars changed everything. The Big Three immediately gelled, bringing a struggling Miami roster into the forefront of the NBA. However, the road is never as easy as it seems.
Putting It All Together
No matter how good a team is, winning a championship is tough. Everyone assumed the Big Three would be able to take down ring after ring, but the truth is much more complicated. During their first year together, they would make the Finals but lose to the Mavericks.
The next two seasons, on the other hand, were much better. The three superstars worked together to bring Miami its second ring in 2011, and a third in 2012. Those back-to-back runs were incredibly important in helping cement Wade’s legacy.
After Miami lost the 2013/2014 Finals, they broke up the team. Wade stayed, but was never the same. He wouldn’t get any more during his career. However, getting three rings put him in elite company and showed that he was more than a one hit wonder.
Dwyane Wade is not someone who many people think of when going through all-time greats, but he’s a future hall of famer who had a stellar career. His legacy is not something that will be forgotten, and he’ll forever be a legend down in South Beach.
His first ring is one of the most impressive runs by any young player, while his push with Lebron cemented him as someone who could do it more than once. Winning a single ring matters. Getting three puts a player on an entirely different level.