HOUSTON, Feb. 18 -- Dwyane Wade had just won the 2006 PlayStation Skills Challenge and he was already thinking about next year.
Sinking the jumper was the key for Wade.
Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images
"Vegas, here I come," he told reporters. "I'm in Vegas no matter what next year."
A perfect final round, one in which he didn't miss a pass or a shot, gave Wade the win over fellow 2003 draftee LeBron James, who took four tries to convert the first chest pass and lost by 7.6 seconds.
The two second round scores (26.1 seconds for Wade, 33.7 seconds for James) were both better than any of the scores in the first round, as the four competitors each made their share of mistakes. Chris Paul started the contest by missing one bounce pass and three outlet passes and moving a little slower than we're used to seeing from him.
Wade missed his first four shots from the top of the key. James missed three chest passes and two jumpers. That seemed to leave the door open for defending champion Steve Nash, but he missed a chest pass, a bounce pass and all five jumpers. Nash, like every defending champion of All-Star Saturday Night, finished last.
So what happened in that first round? Maybe it was a lack of competitive spirit, according to Paul.
"It ain't the playoffs," Paul said. "We were just out here to have fun. It's going to be fun to go out there and watch the dunk contest."
Wade was also looking forward to the Dunk Contest, checking to make sure that his interviews and photos wouldn't take too long, but he somehow managed to concentrate enough to beat his friend LeBron in the final round. The key was that top-of-the-key jumpshot that gave him trouble in the first round. In the second, he got some inspiration from his teammate on the sidelines.
"In the first round Shaq qas on the side saying 'Leave it up, leave it up!', and in the second round, I decided that I didn't want to hear his mouth no more."
"When I hit that jump shot, I kinda knew from there that I was gonna be holding that trophy up."