It’s not a dictionary term yet, but perhaps the Oxford University Press should check my submission for ‘Bouncebackability’.
Bouncebackability: noun - The ability to ‘bounce back’ from a negative (or losing situation) and turn it into a positive (win). Phrase coined by Crystal Palace Football Club Manager Ian Dowie, popularized by the British football media.
“Bouncebackability. Can you please use that in a sentence?”
Bouncebackability. Despite having the worst playoff game of his career after being held for five points on 2-13 shooting in Game 3, Dwyane Wade showed great bouncebackability
in Game 4 of the second round series against the Pacers, scoring 30 points to level the series at 2-2. Miami went on to bounce back and close the series 4-2. Wade dropped 28 points in Game 5; 41 points and 10 rebounds in Game 6.
Bouncebackability. Despite starting the 2012-13 season with the worst scoring averages of his career since his rookie year – in a season when critics said that the 31-year-old’s game was in quick decline – Dwyane Wade caught fire in February. In another display of bouncebackability, he pushed his scoring average up to 24 points per game (from around 20 previously) with improved numbers and efficiency across the stat-sheet to help lead the Heat on their current 18-game winning streak. Miami now stands clear as the top team in the Eastern Conference and are hunting for the best record in the league.
But before we speak of Wade, we must speak of LeBron James.
It’s easy to be blinded by LeBron.
In the midst of perhaps his fourth MVP award in five years, LeBron is the NBA’s equivalent of a terrifying force of nature. He scores, he rebounds, he passes, he defends, he toys with opponents, he makes gaudy statistics look pedestrian, he outdoes himself on a regular basis, and he leads his team to all-important victories. He has won a championship, a Finals MVP award, his team is the best in the East again and have won 18 consecutive games.
He’s the best player in the game.
But in Miami’s incredible streak, particularly through the month of February, Wade has been the X-factor as the team made the jump from ‘fantastic’ to ‘unstoppable’. Although his averages across the board are below James’, Wade has led the team in key advanced stats, including offensive and defensive efficiency, +/-, and usage rate. He particularly raised the level of his game in clutch moments, leading the Heat in points, rebounds, assists, +/-, and PER in the fourth quarter.
Do you still need more examples?
. Like the time when a 22-year-old college player named Dwyane Wade – largely ignored by the national media – led his underdog Marquette team to a win over heavy favourites Kentucky with a legendary triple-double and into the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
Like the time when Wade fell to fifth in his own draft class and was in the NBA Finals by the end of his third season in the NBA.
Like the time his Miami Heat fell down 2-0 to the Mavericks in the 2006 Finals and were 13 points down with six minutes to go in Game 3, before Wade rallied them back to a win and followed it up with one of the greatest Finals’ performances in NBA history. He averaged 39 points and eight rebounds through Games 3-6 to hand the Heat their first-ever Championship.
Like the two seasons from 2006-2008, when he only played 51 games in each season and missed the playoffs with his team finishing with the worst record in the NBA. Portraying great bouncebackabilty, he came back to play for the 2008 USA Basketball team and led them as their best player to a gold medal in Beijing. In 2008-09, he played 79 games and had the best season of his career, with averages of 30.2 ppg, 7.5 apg, and 5.0 rpg. He finished in the All-NBA First Team for the first time in his career. And then, he did it again the next season.
Like the time he was heavily criticized for succumbing to age and injuries in the 2012 playoffs, and yet, he was there side-by-side with James to win LeBron’s first and his second career championship.
Back in our present, we live in awe of LeBron. Having another monstrous season, LeBron and the Heat are again favourites for the MVP award and the championship. But Miami have a luxury in Dwyane Wade that few other teams in the league can enjoy. In Wade, they have one of the best players in the world settling for a supporting role. Wade isn’t just the x-factor for Miami; he’s the biggest x-factor in the entire league. When Wade is struggling, LeBron is good enough to keep Miami rolling. But when Wade also catches fire – like he has over this winning streak – the Heat are simply scintillating.
The lesson here: it’s easy to be blinded by LeBron, but no one should make the mistake of ignoring Wade, either. By the time the playoffs begin, he will once again be punishing opposing teams for forgetting and underrating him, for forgetting his ability to keep bouncing back.
Bouncebackability: noun - for further reference, see Dwyane Wade.