Coping With A Disappointing Conclusion to Dwyane’s Last Dance
Miami has lost the last four games. They hold the 10th seed in the East, leaving them with little to no chance of capturing that coveted playoff spot as the regular season nears its end. This situation is less than ideal for the many Heat fans who hoped for a dramatic finish to Dwyane Wade’s final season. They’re disappointed. I can empathize.
We all had fantasies of Wade’s last dance; dreams of Wade carrying this scrappy Heat squad to unlikely playoff victories over Milwaukee to cap off his incredible career. We all wanted that perfect ending. We all wanted the fairytale.
But, for better or worse, Wade has never been one for fairytales. He’s a living legend. Key word: living. He’s human: more fact than fiction. His career has always been unpredictable, unscriptable, beautiful and frustrating.
Nothing that’s happened with Wade was supposed to happen. Nothing that was supposed to happen with Wade happened.
He was a relative afterthought in a draft highlighted by LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, and Darko Milicic. Wade wasn’t supposed to be the rookie standout who hit highly contested clutch shots over the Hornets in his first playoffs.
But he was.
Then Dwyane teamed up with Shaq and won 59 games to take the top seed in the East. The tough, young, spry sophomore shooting guard wasn’t supposed to go down with a rib injury in a Conference Finals series against the Pistons.
But he did.
In another unpredictable development, Wade came back and captured the title with a miraculous display of dominance over the Dallas Mavericks.
That title team wasn’t supposed to break up. They did.
Wade’s best years weren’t supposed to be plagued by injury, spent with lackluster support. They were.
But, in maybe the most shocking sports move in recent memory, LeBron and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach. The Big 3 were supposed to coast to the championship, crushing any competition in their way.
When that didn’t happen, Dwyane did something superstars simply don’t do. He gave the keys to his team to LeBron. They won back to back rings and became the superteam they hoped to be and changed the landscape of the sport.
But knee injuries weren’t supposed to prematurely put an end to Wade’s prime and handicap a potential Heat dynasty. And LeBron wasn’t supposed to leave, breaking up the Big 3 after only 4 seasons and 2 titles. And Bosh wasn’t supposed to get blood clots, forcing him into an early retirement.
Wade shouldn’t have been able to lead an injury riddled Heat team on a deep playoff run in 2016. Not after the knee troubles. Not in the absence of LeBron and Bosh.
Then he left. The mayor of Wade County. The face of Miami’s new #HEATLifer campaign. He left. THAT was never supposed to happen.
But he made his way back and has since given Miami many more marvelous moments. He’s mentored the the next wave of young Heat players, setting up the team for success long past his pending departure while still providing the occasional highlight play.
Maybe it’s fitting that Miami fans won’t get that fairytale finish from their favorite athlete. During his time in the NBA, Dwyane has defied everyone’s expectation. The past seventeen seasons have been full of surprises, both disappointing and wonderful. It’s a career of endless what-ifs, countless “shoulda coulda woulda”s.
Dwyane Wade never delivers the way you think he will, but he’s delivered more than anyone could possibly hope for. Regardless of how this season ends, the reality of Dwyane Wade’s career will always beat whatever fantasy you’ve dreamt up for him.
Right now Miami holds the 10th seed in the East. They aren’t supposed to make the playoffs at this point.