Pre-Finals Dwyane Wade Interview
The NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks starts tonight. Here's what Heat star guard Dwyane Wade said to the media yesterday:
Q.Yesterday Josh said that because you're so good at going to the basket and maybe you have somewhat of a questionable jumper, they might as well leave you with the jumper. When you here hear that, do you take that as a challenge and do you think your jumper has come around to the point now where it's as much of a weapon as any part of your game?
DWYANE WADE: I've been hearing it as long as I've been playing this game. So it really don't matter to me. I'm going to play my game. You know, I don't worry about what my opponents say about me. If my jumper is there, it's there. You know, if they are going to let me shoot, that's fine. I think I've proved I can make shot. So I don't worry about that.
Q. Can you just talk about how you're feeling, and did you need to miss the two days or you thought it was just smart to sit out the practices and where do you stand right now?
DWYANE WADE: Well, yeah, I needed to miss them. I'm not a guy who wants to not be around his teammates, especially at this time. But first of all, it was kind of -- getting other guys sick, we have one guys sick. Of course, playing the game, they drug me up a lot, so I felt good after the game but the next two days kind of hit me. You know, feeling better. Finally trying to get this virus out of me. It's something that I've got to deal with. Decided to get back out there and get my conditioning going today and a little bit tomorrow, also, before the game.
Q. What has Pat Riley done the last couple of days that tells you he's been in the NBA Finals before?
DWYANE WADE: Just getting us prepared mentally, not letting us relax at all. I think we all understood that after taking one day off and coming back in the next day, Sunday and really going hard. I think we all understood that it ain't no relax time, you know, so he's just been getting us mentally prepared, watching film constantly. What they do best. You know, our coaching staff does a great job of getting us prepared for the other team and they have been doing a great job.
Q. But has he told you any stories, relayed some of his experiences in any ways to you guys?
DWYANE WADE: Not yet. We're not at the stories yet but I'm sure some will come before the first game.
Q. How aware are you of the idea that this league, to be successful, needs some of its young star players like yourself, maybe LeBron, some of the other guys, to be successful in the playoffs; to go deep into the playoffs, to make The Finals, and does that create any extra incentive or pressure in this particular series?
DWYANE WADE: I don't think that the league needs it for that to happen for it to be successful. I think the NBA is very successful and will always be. But I think it's great for the game. I think it's great for young kids growing up and I think it's great for all fans to see younger guys, exciting guys and guys that they can kind of feel like they are a part of, like they knew when they grew up, they knew how it was. Everything like that, I think it's great for the game. For myself, LeBron, other young guys that are coming and making a name for themselves in the playoffs, it's great, it's great for the game. For many years to come, hopefully, we'll continue to do that and the younger guys that's coming in after us will continue to do it.
As the NBA continues to get younger and younger there's a new guy coming in every year that's younger. It's good for the guys to go out and show what they are made of character-wise and what's a professional and as an athlete.
Q. We all know how you were feeling fried Friday night, you had Saturday off, Sunday you seemed to be working, you went through a full practice, Sunday you were on the court shooting jumpers, did that set you back and were you almost asking too much of yourself too quickly?
DWYANE WADE: I think so, but you know, me wanting to get out on the court -- right now, I'm anxious. I want to get out on the court right now. I haven't been out there in a couple of days. I just want to get back and continue to work on my game like I always do ask get back on the court and just there.
I think my body wasn't ready for that and it kind of shut me down the next day totally. Yeah, I probably came back ask tried to do too much, too early. But, I mean, that's what I'm going to do.
Q. Can you talk about Gary's role on this team, and has he related maybe any mistake that the Lakers made two years ago in the Finals?
DWYANE WADE: Yeah, the main thing he said about that was they didn't play team ball when it was needed to. They had a lot of talent on their team and they didn't use it in The Finals versus Detroit. You know, Gary is a guy who means a lot to this team. Of course, defensively, but offensively, also, he gives us a different look than Jason. Jason gives us the speed, the quickness and Gary gives us the speediness. It's a great backcourt balance.
Gary means a lot to this team. He's the oldest guy on this team, he's about 77. (Laughter) he has wisdom, and we all can use that at times, and he helps a lot of us out. So he does a great job of helping us stay even-keel. And he has not won a championship yet, neither, so he understands that he needs everyone to be on the same page in order to be able to do that.
Q. If they decide to go small and looking at their match-ups as an advantage, what do you do defensively, obviously you don't leave Shaq on an island against Dirk, how much has Pat talked about that and worked on the past couple days?
DWYANE WADE: Yeah, one thing you try to do is if they do go to the small ball, of course we have advantage on offense and they have advantage on offense also. Defensively as a team one thing we can try to do is load up to the side more, any side they try to isolate Shaq on, because we are not going to take our best player out of the game just because they go small. So we'll try to load up, let them see our defenders and that's the only thing we can do, make sure that Shaq knows that he's behind us and that's the main thing.