Wade, when pressed, doesn't talk of shows. He talks of touches of the basketball. Quality touches. Touches where he can do something other than be a serviceable decoy.
"As long as we're winning, it's fine,'' he says.
It's not easy for superstars to do what Wade and Chris Bosh have in moving to the back seat for LeBron. Championship teams break up over such issues (the Lakers of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant). Contending teams don't stay together over them (James Harden welcomed a trade from Oklahoma City for more money).
- Bio | E-mail | Recent columns
- Video: Winderman looks ahead to Game 4
- If Derrick Rose says he's not ready, he's not
- Bosh: Can't win a title being pretty
- Photos: Game 3 Heat-Bulls
- Video: Thibodeau, 'I just saw a guy basically flop'
- Video: Bulls' Noah on officiating, Game 3 loss
- Video: Bulls' Mohammed on his ejection
- Dwyane Wade
- Miami Heat
- LeBron James
See more topics »
The difference is these Heat players assembled themselves as much as Pat Riley did. They invested in each other. Wade says he couldn't have accepted a lesser role five years ago. But now? At 31?
"I want to win now,'' he says. "I always wanted to win, but I still had a lot of individual stuff I wanted to prove. What, five years ago, I led the league in scoring. I had to prove that, that I could do certain things.
"Now the only thing I have to prove is that I can be part of a winning team — and win. You only play this game for so long and when you leave, what memories do I want to have? That's what I ask myself. The memories I want to have is of a championship team.
"That's why you make decisions like this. It's not easy. It's hard. If I was told five years ago I'd be in a playoff game and take seven shots and make five, hell, no.
"But at the end of the game, was I pissed about it? No. We won the game, had a great dinner and now are looking to Game 4."
Wade is asked whether he could still be the Alpha Dog, if necessary.
"I made the adjustment [to a secondary role],'' he says. "You start relying on that. Say LeBron was out for 10 games and I had to go back to that role, I'd be happy when he came back. You condition yourself to playing in a different way."
His knee hurts. Again. His game looks limited when compared to who he once was. Again. Maybe this is Wade's best feat. He hasn't just conquered his game, but his ego, too.
Then again, as he sat on the court at the University of Illinois at Chicago, he said applied humility isn't new to his game.
"Remember,'' he says, "I wasn't even recruited to play here, at UIC."