Spoiler Alert: There are some Game of Thrones references in this piece. Please, GoT fans, feel free to shut your eyes and skip the show references if you aren’t caught up or can’t afford HBOGO.
Dwyane Wade went to Cleveland?
With the entire NBA frantically scrambling to break free of the Golden State Warriors’ death grip, it’s impossible to predict when a desperate team will make a “huge” acquisition. Even missing a day of NBA chatter can leave a fan shocked to find out his or her favorite player has been traded. Or, if you’re Dwight Howard, you allegedly find out it was you who was traded — five minutes into a Twitter Q&A.
The league’s hype machine is in a perpetual cycle of unleashing and then debating “breaking news” stories.
I have a few different group chats that keep me plugged into that breaking news. My good buddy and Warriors’ fanatic “D-Double” is in one of them (#BrotherOfSplash). Yesterday, he came back from a week-long Mexico trip in which he had zero internet connection. Traveling in a foreign land freed from the plugged toilet that is social media probably added YEARS back to his lifespan. D-Double is a true NBA addict, and it was hilarious reading his first messages as he hooked back into the matrix.
“So I was in Mexico with no internet”
“Wade went to Cleveland??”
The entire chat went on an immediate Dwyane Wade roast session. The highlight was this “D-Wade walking into Cleveland arena” YouTube clip from the M. Night Shyamalan’s cult classic film, Unbreakable. In the clip, Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Mr. Glass, has a mysterious medical condition (and Frederick Douglass’ afro). His hyper fragile bones are prone to serious injury with even the slightest bump. The scene in which he is forced to go down a daunting flight of stairs is truly a cringe-worthy cinematic treat.
Talk about BREAKING news! Hahahaha omg but seriously: This accurately represents D-Wade’s current NBA2K durability rating.
The rise and decline of the Hall of Famer
Sigh. How the mighty have fallen! Young, prime Miami Heat D-Wade was an explosive, swaggering assassin. At 6-feet-4, 220 lbs, he played with the quickness of a small guard and the mighty force of a giant center. He had arguably the greatest Finals MVP performance in NBA history when he ripped the championship from the Dallas Mavericks in 2006. He led the league in scoring for the 2008-09 season. He was the kind of dude who would hit a game winner on the road and then jump on the announcer’s table, screaming at the fans that it was his city. In 2013, he set the NBA record for most career blocks (675) accumulated by anyone his height or shorter (he’s up to 800 now). Nicknamed “The Flash” by Shaquille O’Neal, he was truly heroic.
Sadly, the heroic basketball version of D-Wade hasn’t saved anybody for some time now. He is decomposing before our eyes into a hobbled, inefficient liability. He’s a living, breathing Life Alert advertisement.
He last showed life when he engaged in a Twitter beef with (who else) Kevin Durant in 2013. KD disagreed with ESPN’s top-10 ranking of Wade, and Wade wasted no time in showing his trademark fire and swagger ... via hand-scrawled diary notes? What is the internet doing to us?!
All jokes aside: Dwyane Wade is an ICON and surefire Hall of Famer. He’s the third greatest shooting guard of all time according to former Warriors headmaster, Pastor Mark Jackson. Wade’s story is really a harrowing tale of the stress of professional sports and the dangers of surgery. His ability to grit his way through debilitating pain is truly inspirational. Doesn’t it seem like every season there are two or three new, inevitable, “D-Wade grimacing in pain” photos?
Fortunately, when Basketball Wade’s body breaks down, we are then treated to Fashionista Wade. This man may no longer be elite on the hardwood, but his suit game? Greatest Of All Time level. The Men’s Warehouse needs to release a collection of outfits inspired by D-Wade’s off-night apparel called “DNP (Did Not Play).”
Why D-Wade and LeBron’s reunion matters for drama
In 2016, my girlfriend became a budding basketball enthusiast. She’s usually by my side while I suffer through the majority of sports talk shows. When she recently overheard talking heads screaming at each other on TV about the value of adding D-Wade to the Cavaliers, her nose quizzically wrinkled.
“Who is ‘D-Wade’? He’s LeBron's friend? The Cavs can’t beat us (Warriors) just because they added him … can they?”
I pursed my lips together like a high school geology teacher being asked by a bright pupil about the probability of the next deadly earthquake. Hmmm. I needed to coherently formulate a parallel to express both the historical drama behind the Wade/LeBron reunion, and the basketball implications thereof.
Then, it hit me! We had binge-watched the popular, trashy HBO drama that is Game of Thrones this past summer. The relationship between two specific characters would aid me in explaining why the basketball world was going crazy over the signing of some former superstar.
Mutually beneficial bromance
In Season 1 of the ridiculous, medieval debauchery of GoT, a young potential queen named Daenarys Targerian has three dragon eggs. Those eggs represent the potential power she will wield once they are hatched and grow into destroyers of worlds. Many in the land want her dead so that she can never take over the lands. Early on, Daenarys is vulnerable and timid. She seeks counsel and help from an old, badass knight named Jorah Mormont. Sir Mormont loves her immediately and pledges to protect her from any danger, and vows to slay her enemies. Mormont knows that if she becomes Queen, he’ll have secured a spot in the throne room.
LeBron James effectively admitted he needed Wade’s counsel and help when the King jumped ship from the Cleveland Cavaliers to take his talents to South Beach. He left “The Land” to play under Wade’s reassuring companionship, desperate for his friend to help him realize his championship potential. Wade joyfully obliged: his aching knees were already a problem at that point. Lebron would ease his tremendous load and when the championships started rolling in, The Flash would be happily riding shotgun.
Betrayal ends the relationship
Once Daenarys begins to gain power under Sir Mormont’s influence, there is an alarming report regarding the Knight’s intentions. You see, Mormont was originally sent by another kingdom to SPY on Danaerys and report back what she was up to. In a twist of events, during all of his snitching on her, he caught feelings. He straightened up his act and became hella loyal to her. However, Daenarys was already grieved by the news of his original fakery. The betrayal was enough for her to banish him out of her lands, despite his apologetic pleas.
Four straight finals and two titles into the Bron-Wade bromance, LeBron also was grieved. He, too, had been betrayed: by D-Wade’s knees. D-Wade’s playoff greatness became hit or miss, as mounting injuries sapped him of his dominant aura. Check out this excerpt after a trash Game 3 performance during a problematic 2012 playoff series against the mighty Roy Hibbert led Indiana Pacers.
Dwyane Wade, the NBA Finals MVP in 2006, did lose it momentarily. Frustrated after his first scoreless half in 95 postseason games, Wade yelled at Coach Erik Spoelstra during a third-quarter timeout after Spoelstra had called him out for missing a three-pointer and being late getting back on defense. Wade hollered “get out of my [expletive] face,” Spoelstra yelled at him and teammates moved Wade away. Afterward, Wade, who has been bothered by injuries, wasn’t talking about the incident.
“I don't even remember what y'all talking about,” Wade told reporters.
Um….damn. LeBron politely banished D-Wade into irrelevancy by returning back home to Cleveland to resurrect what was a decrepit basketball wasteland. D-Wade struggled to regain any magic as he acrimoniously finished out his contract with Miami and then spent a frustrating year in the depressed badlands that is the Chicago Bulls organization.
Returning from the ashes to help an old bestie
Crippled by a debilitating skin disease and shame, Sir Mormont vows to win back his Queen’s love. When Daenarys sits to watch a gladiatorial competition, the Knight unbeknownst to her enters into the competition. He ends up dominating his foes and becomes the last man standing in front of a stunned Queen.. As she stares down into the Pit in bitter surprise, Sir Mormont flings a spear to kill an assassin who was creeping up behind her. A big fight scene ensues blah blah yadda yadda but then a dragon shows up! Dragon saves the day and at the end the Queen forgives Sir Mormont and pardons him of his crimes.
The assassin parallel clearly applies to Kyrie Irving, whose forced trade from Cleveland to a conference rival in Boston spattered bad blood all over LeBron’s championship aspirations. As a stunned King James focused this summer on working out and passive aggressive social media videos, Dwyane Wade saw a chance to redeem himself. He seized it when the Bulls bought him out. He quickly signed with the Cavs in an effort to fill the Kyrie sized hole in LeBron’s heart.
Now Lebron is joyful and rejuvenated to have his loyal homie back at his side! They got MVP candidate Isiah Thomas in the deal! The Cavs doubled down and signed former MVP Derrick Rose! The Cavs are reloaded! Cleveland, THIS IS FOR YOU!
Why Wade/LeBron together in 2017 is irrelevant on the court
As much as I enjoy Game of Thrones, at the end of the day I know it’s a ridiculous fantasy that could never happen in real life. Much like the dream of the 2017 Cleveland Cavaliers winning a championship with their current roster. Isiah Thomas’ hip is so bad the Cavs thought about reneging the trade for him. Derrick Rose’s tragic knees not only derailed the Chicago Bulls title aspirations of the earlys 2010’s, they ended his season last year. The Knicks shut him down due to injury, as opposed to because of the fact that he was just RANDOMLY NOT SHOWING UP TO WORK . After you throw in the 36 year old D-Wade’s terrifying injury history, quite frankly I’m not sure which Cavs player deserves the “Mr. Glass” label the most.
The Warriors added KD to the “Splash Bros”….and the Cavs replaced Kyrie with the “Glass Bros”?
The thrilling conclusion
Let me sum this all up with a quote from D-Wade when he was collecting checks last year with the Bulls. He was asked why he and LeBron didn’t join up with the young, pre-cursed knees, Derrick Rose led Bulls back in 2010.
“They did have a young Derrick Rose. What, he got MVP that next year? So you’re already talking two guys who are ball dominant. And then you have a young up-and-coming star in the league who is ball dominant. At that time, I don’t think it would’ve worked out for us. We took our two ball-dominant selves away from having three guys as ball dominant. So instead of it being me, LeBron and Derrick Rose, it’s going to be a tough one. So we decided to pick what we thought was better from a basketball standpoint.” -— probably irrelevant musings from Dwyane Wade as a Chicago Bull.
Ummmm from a basketball standpoint it’s even worse now that D-Rose and D-Wade are shells of themselves. Who is gonna spread the floor and knock down shots?! If D-Wade had misgivings back THEN, how is it supposed to work now?
When I finished explaining this to my sweetheart, she cackled in delight.
“We’re gonna kill again them this year!”
Yes, honey. Yes we are. WHAT IS SPLASHED MAY NEVER DRY.