The quiet, under-recognized lynchpin of this Heat season and its championship direction has been the ability — but first the willingness — of Dwyane Wade to step aside for the first time in his Miami career and let this team be LeBron James’.
For the first time in his NBA life Wade understands and accepts he is not the best player on his team. He has acted accordingly with such seamless grace that the evolution has gone with little notice or remark, but it has been profound in its way.
This is Wade, sacrificing, setting aside ego, demonstrating that team trumps self.
This is Wade, proving to all doubters that his friendship with James is bona fide, because only genuine mutual respect allows this to happen.
And this would not be happening — Miami appearing title-bound as the playoffs’ second round vs. Indiana begins here Sunday — without the team harmony at the top that emits from Wade’s attitude.