A third title.
All players have that an inherent need for championship distinction, but we don’t empathize with the supposed need to win multiple rings. Everyone says that. They want, not need, as many championships as possible.
For Wade, it’s different (via the Associated Press):
I feel like I need three rings. After that, I’m playing with church’s money. I’ve always said that if I can end my career with at least three rings … I’ve already had a special career, but it would put me in that special group that only a few can say that they’re in. It would mean a lot. It would mean a lot. It would mean a lot.
Some would argue that Wade has been “playing with church’s money” since the first championship. That’s all any NBA player really needs. But again, Wade’s desire for that third ring is different.
As Wade notes, those first two championships weren’t for him. They were for LeBron James and Alonzo Mourning:
Dwyane Wade was sitting with his mother after a pregame workout a few days ago, a rare quiet moment in a nearly empty arena that would soon be filled by 20,000 screaming Miami Heat fans.
She was wearing a pendant shaped like one of her son’s two Heat championship rings, which probably explains why their chat revolved around the looming NBA playoffs. They talked about the 2006 title and how that paid tribute to ring-starved veterans like Alonzo Mourning and Gary Payton. They talked about last year’s crown, which served as the long-awaited coronation for LeBron James.
Which of those titles have been specifically for Wade? Neither of them. He’s been asked to help actualize the dreams of two other NBA greats. Not because he isn’t great himself, but because their storylines have trumped his.
Mourning had gone the better part of two decades without a ring. At the tail end of his career and he himself serving as an inspirational emblem after overcoming a kidney disease, that 2006 championship was for him.
Last year, we had LeBron. He went nearly 10 years without winning a title, a travesty for someone so talented and who was being compared to Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Once the Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, the King finally had his ring. That 2012 championship was for him.
But what about Wade? He’s been far from an afterthought during both title runs. He’s been as vital a component as there is to the Heat organization. Yet, his legacy seems to take a backseat to everyone else’s quest.
Wade has more rings then LeBron (and even Mourning). He’s one of a select few who can say they have two. Winning a third wouldn’t just put him in a different class, it would thrust his legacy to the forefront of the championship motif.
Sure, James will have procured his second ring, and the Heat will have won back-to-back championships. But Wade will have won his third title in 10 years. Nearly a third of his career will have been spent winning titles. And this ring will be able to have been for him. Not ‘Zo or LeBron or anyone else. Him.
Is that selfish of Wade, to want to win a championship for himself?
You’re damn right it is, but he’s earned the right to be selfish at this point. He’s spent the last decade winning for his team, securing championships for his ringless teammates. It’s time he wins, or at least tries to win, one for himself.
“This one’s for me,” Wade said of chasing his third championship.
As it should be.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.