Trying to play the villain — it took the joy away from the game. Even though we still were good, we didn’t have fun that first year. We were like, ‘All right, we’re going to show them,’ but that’s not the way you go through an entire year.Dwyane Wade, Fubo Sports
17 games into the 10/11 NBA season, the Heat were 9-8, playing basketball far below the team’s level of talent. That, in and of itself, didn’t take many by surprise. LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh all in the same uniform marked the biggest experiment in the NBA at the time, and everyone assumed it would take some time before they learn to play with each other. Playing the role of a villain only prolonged the adjustment time.
We knew everybody was there to see us. You can say what you want, but y’all bought these tickets early. We knew y’all were there for us. So the hate kinda drove us in the wrong; we didn’t place it right. If we were to place the hate in the right spot, then we could still have joy playing. But everything people were saying about us; we took it personal.Dwyane Wade, Fubo Sports
The Heat were able to develop an identity, but it didn’t derive from their collective effort to become a better basketball team. Instead, they gathered around the need to prove everyone wrong, and repercussions showed during the ’11 postseason — NBA Finals against the Mavs in particular. It was only when they established the pecking order with LeBron James at the top that Miami started to play to their full potential.
The Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving are in a similar situation. They’re not playing the villain role to the same extent but face challenges every superteam encounters. The one that usually stands out and an elusive enigma for Miami’s Big Three — being too caught up with each other’s individual agendas, adjusting on the fly as a precaution.
It’s great putting great talent together, but it is freedom not having to worry like ‘Oh, is he gonna shoot? Oh, he needs to get some shots.’ We had that.Dwyane Wade, Fubo Sports
So far, the Nets are putting up all-time great offensive numbers, with no signs of internal issues within the Big Three. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh obviously didn’t have the same luxury.