Cup of Joe: A Weekend To Remember
If you’re familiar with “Cup of Joe”, you know it’s usually a biweekly roundup of who’s been playing well, notable trends and everything else in between.
But we’re going to start things off a little differently this time around.
Well, because some guy named Dwyane Wade had his L3GACY Celebration this past weekend. You may have heard of him.
Ok, I’m done trying to be witty. (Key word: trying.)
Let’s get right to it.
Celebrating A L3GACY
When D. Wade announced his “One Last Dance” just before his final season, we all knew that the organization would do something special once his playing career was done.
And now that it’s happened, “special” might have been an understatement.
From a “Flashback” event on Friday, which included guys like Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, David Fizdale and Pat Riley among countless others, to an early screening of his “Life Unexpected” documentary on Sunday, Wade was rightfully honored with an unparalleled three-day extravaganza.
Of course, a traditional jersey retirement ceremony was also part of the equation. After Wade’s jersey made its way to the rafters during halftime of the HEAT’s game against the Cavs on Saturday, it was time for him to give a powerful speech like only he can.
Although Wade touched on how Riley discovered him, how HEAT Nation embraced him from the start and how grateful he is for everyone who’s played a role in his career, the way he concluded his discourse stood out the most.
“In the words of one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball, my friend, the late Kobe Bryant…said, ‘The most important thing is to try to inspire others so they can be great in whatever they choose to do.’ I hope I’ve inspired all of you. Thank you for making me a part of your legacy. Please know you are a huge part of mine. God bless you all. HEAT Nation, I love you.”
Wade is class personified. Period.
Erik Spoelstra knows it, too.
“It was amazing,” Spo said of Wade’s speech. “Dwyane is just sensational. Look, he has all the qualities of a champion, of a winner, of a Hall of Fame player and talent, but his humanity, empathy and his ability to articulate his feelings separates him from everybody else. It was hard not to get emotional at halftime.”
And as Riley said on Friday night, Wade “has learned, he has lived, he has loved, and he has left something behind that I don’t think anybody is ever going to be able to match again.”
That sums it up perfectly.
HEATing Up Chicago
In case you haven’t heard, the HEAT had a good showing at All-Star Weekend.
Not only did Bam Adebayo win the Skills Challenge, but also Derrick Jones Jr. skied high in a thrilling Slam Dunk Contest victory. Let’s not forget that Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler were also part of the festivities.
As a result, Coach Spo tuned in for the first time in quite a while.
“I loved it,” Spoelstra said. “It was one of the few times I’ve ever actually watched basically the whole deal. And it was great theater, great drama. It was really cool to see us represented in the right way. It was a lot of fun.”
While fun, Butler emphasized that team success was the reason why the young guys and himself were in Chicago for the break.
“For them, for the organization as a whole, I think it was great [that] those guys [were]…acknowledged for what they’ve been doing…up till the break…those guys understand that they were in that position because we won,” Butler said. “We have to continue to do that. And more fame, the more success, all of that stuff, it comes with it. But I’m so happy for them. They definitely deserve it. Those guys are a huge part in our success and what we’re doing and what we’re doing moving forward. So, as long as we continue to win, they’ll get more and more recognition.”
Crowder Keeping It Up
One guy who deserves some recognition is Jae Crowder.
Ever since the 29-year-old specimen donned a HEAT jersey on Feb. 9, he’s been showing out on both ends of the floor.
In addition to shooting 17-of-31 (54.8 percent) from deep in his five games with Miami, he’s also racked up 13 deflections and a team-high 11 steals during that span. In turn, the HEAT are outscoring the opposition by 6.8 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
Spo has taken notice.
“Jae fits right in,” Spoelstra said. “He just feels like a Miami HEAT player…he just defends with a physicality and an attention to detail. And when he’s spacing the floor…we want him taking those [shots] with confidence.”
You can say that again.
Until next time.