Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 at 2:40 pm  |  72 responses

Dwyane Wade: LeBron James is More of a Leader Now

by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

During their first season together, despite all of the success they achieved together, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade never truly figured out who’s team the Miami Heat were. Since he’d been in South Beach longer, and had already won a NBA title, DWade remained the defacto leader of the squad.

After famously flaming out in the NBA Finals, LeBron was forced back to the drawing board. He emerged as a new player, and person.

According to Dwyane Wade, LeBron is now more of a leader for the Miami Heat, and in a somewhat surprising role reversal, it’s Dwyane who’s now taking direction from LeBron (not the other way around.)

From the Associated Press:

Driven by last season’s loss to Dallas in the NBA finals – a series where he made seven field-goal attempts in 68 fourth-quarter minutes – James and the Heat return to the postseason as the No. 2 seed on the Eastern Conference bracket. Their first-round opponent is still not determined. Their ultimate goal was determined long ago. “I have to be who I am,” James said. “Last year was the biggest teacher. The greatest teacher in life is experience. And I had that last year. I’m back to being the person who can take over games. I have no problem taking over a game now.”

“Obviously, last year we kind of got cheated a little bit out of the greatness of LeBron as a vocal leader,” Wade said. “He had so much going on, so much in his mind that he was just trying to show everybody with his play and his toughness. But this year, especially of late, we’ve all been getting the vocal player, the intelligent player that LeBron is. His IQ of the game is second to none. So you listen. Especially me.” […] “I want to win it all, as bad as other guys want to win it – if not more,” James said. “That’s why I play as hard as I do in the regular season, to build my habits, build our team’s habits. I’ve been bothered by last season a lot. It’s constant. I dream about it a lot, winning that trophy and seeing the confetti come down. That’s why I’m here. I’m here because I wanted to compete for a championship year in and year out.”

It’s championship or bust for LeBron James and the Miami Heat, as per usual.

Even though LBJ has repeatedly said that he’s a new man this year, with a much happier outlook on life and the game of basketball, the harsh reality is that anything short of a ring in a couple of months would be considered ruinous.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com lalal

    LBJ 6 – freemason – prooof

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper


  • IamYOU

    Cue in the Haters!

  • http://nba.com GP23

    All eyes will be on him in the Playoffs !!

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    ^Cue Tupac

  • http://Www.freeones.com Baron Davis’s Beard

    Pacers gon kill it

  • Fat Lever

    I’ll believe it when I see it manifest to a title this year. Those are the expectations; I know it, he knows it, everyone knows it. Time to show and prove.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    With Tupac in mind, would hologram LeBron disappear the last 12 minutes of a concert?

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    You wrong for that nbk lol

  • 130623

    If bron plays to his potential and I think he will Miami will be NBA champs this year

  • Ldub

    I do believe this is the Heats year. Hopefully they get it done!

  • bike

    MIA is going to win it all, LeBron will be in the running for the G.O.A.T., and Bosh will finally come to grips with his latent homosexuality. And there will be closure in the biblical sense.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    ^^ lol you guys are funny.


    i was wit u in the first 2 sentences and then the real bike showed up. it’s the heat’s year though no doubt n lbj better bring the same stats of the regular season to the postseason. I don’t need a 10 point drop in scoring like last year’s finals.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    T-Ray, I had too though right? I don’t even think he really disappears that often in the 4th (except during the finals last season obviously) but that joke just had to happen.

  • ALD

    This song is from a broken record. It keeps repeating the same tune every year. Enough is enough. I know a legend when I see one. Nothing to see here folks. You can all go back home.

  • Iggi


  • Rainman

    actually u do still have problems taking over big games…a Nets game , and an NBA Finals game are 2 different things. Im not a Bron hater btw, i hope success for him, i like how he’s changed things up. He’s always been a great player during the season tho, its always at SOME point in the playoffs(the past 3 years, consecutively) he disengages, for whatever reason, and comes small. So he still has a lot to prove to me, and everyone else. At this point, im still of the opinion that if the Heat win the chip, it’ll be because it was Wade making the big shots, and plays down the stretch. (that takes a healthy Wade, which he wasnt in the Finals.)

  • ALD


  • AsadSaleh3

    I watched Stephen A. Smith today on First Take. While it’s hard to listen to him sometimes because he yells all over the place with his friend, Skip Bayless (why they let him talk about any sport is beyond me. It’s clear he has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to basketball or football). But Stephen A. talked about Wade deferring to LeBron and I was actually in agreement with him. No reason for Wade to follow LeBron in any way on or off the court. With training or anything else. He was great before LeBron arrived. If the Heat win and Wade leads them, the LeBron chatter will be ratcheted up even more than it is now. LeBron has to be the guy to lead this team in order for it to mean anything significant for his career. That requires Wade sacrificing some of his game. These two are ball stoppers. It will be interesting to see how different they play this time around if they make it to the Finals which I think they will if D-Rose isn’t 100% and his teammates don’t help him like last season. Stephen A. also discussed Pat Riley trading Wade and Bosh away if they don’t get it done this season which I can also see. If that happens, I hope Wade gets traded to Chicago for anyone except Rose. It would be cool to see him play in his hometown to finish off his career and help Rose win a few titles too.

  • LA Huey

    What I liked about that Lee Jenkins article is that he states what I like most about him as a player. He has the confidence in every teammate on the floor to make an open shot, if its THEIR shot. That’s the kind of basketball he plays and I hope he can win a chip playing HIS way.

  • Ldub

    Foolish move to trade Wade. Unless you bringin in someone of equal talents. And you would be hard pressed to find anyone willing to trade superstar for superstar. OR Superstar for role players. Wade n James are arguably the best duo in the L. Regardless if they have similar playing styles. Its worked in numerous situations, AI and Melo, RW and KD, Jordan and Pip…they just gotta figure out how the benefit the team. IMO James should be more of the passer/Pippen to Wade’s Jordan role. Only because James can pass witht he best of them. Wade should stick with scoring. James will still be able to get his regardless. Especially when Wade goes to the bench-

  • http://slamonline.com Nella

    Can’t wait for Bron to have a good first round of the playoffs so people can bring up the “better than Jordan” and “best ever?” BS again. Of course it won’t hurt that ESPN will craft that narrative the first time he has 30pts in a playoff game. Man, I hate pre-determined destinies.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Yea nbk the opportunity was there you had to capitalize haha but I agree last year he was MJ like in the first three rounds especially against Chicago. If he gets back there this year I think he’ll be on a mission.

  • shean combs

    for 3 quarters

  • shean combs

    in bed

  • lakernation

    Lebron changed? To me he always does this and eventually fades away late in the playoffs… they are no better than what they were last year. I dont see the difference that everybody else does i guess. Lebron is now 0-2 in the finals, that stat for one will automatically take him out of the talks of being better than Jordan or Kobe(so can that). D. Wade is trying to say that Lebron wasnt vocal last year? I dont buy that at all. He’s just trying to motivate Lebron, sort of like when a supervisor tells his subbordinate that he has total confidence in his ability to perform at a high level. You are doing outstanding Lebron keep up the good work! GTFOH

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    So because LeBron lost in two finals he’s out of the conversation? Kobe lost 2 finals I can recall and Jordan never lost one does that mean that neither Kobe nor LeBron should be mentioned with Jordan?

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    cosign T-Ray

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Michael Jordan was 27 years old the first time he won a title. Which means, he didn’t even get there to lose until then. So answer this, would you rather get to the finals and lose twice before your 27, or never make it there?

  • Jake

    I’d rather go to college, win an NCAA ring, then win 6 championships without losing a final series. Just me though….

  • LA Huey

    The 0-2 in the Finals is a silly point. To add to what T-Ray said, Bird lost in two Finals as well. And Magic lost FOUR finals. It’s not how many Finals you lose, it’s how many you win.


    R we really gonna count the 2007 finals? We dont even kno how they got there? A team starting larry hughe donneyl marshall and big z dont belong in the finals specially against the spurs.

  • Jerome

    Wade said, “vocal leader”. When he said, “intelligent,” he meant ‘Bron better defer to me in the fourth’.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Jake that’s a cop out. I’d rather have 100 million dollars by my 19th birthday then a national college basketball championship. Neither of which have to do with the NBA.

  • AsadSaleh3

    0-2 in the Finals is a silly point? How? It happened. The important point is he played horribly in those two appearances.

  • Off The Backboard

    Lebron deserves the MVP this year, but ESPN (as always) is going to be on his d**k for the first 2 rounds of the playoffs. As the competition toughens up though, he’s shown the tendency to falter…so I take his “beast mode” of a season with a grain of salt. Let’s see what he and the Heat have to offer.

  • Rainman

    Completely cosign Lakernation and Off The Backboard, It happens every year. Great Season player, Great first round, maybe second round (if the opponent wasnt the Celtics) but eventually falter at some point. Lets see what happens this year i guess

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Wade needs to be the old Flash for Miami to win. Him deferring to Lebron is killing me. Lebron is not a leader, a great staff stuffer, but not a leader. Wade messed up his legacy, because a player came to his city where he got them a ring and not is the second fiddle. Heat will lose the 1st round series to the Knicks and the NBA Gods will smile. Don’t join teams to win, as an MVP, you make your legacy. BOOK IT!!


    Who the f*ck gives a sh*t. Lebron is better than wade so wade can take his fu*ked up sh*t fetish back to his moms house to masterbate


    seed that was by far the stupidest comment of the day. the knicks? really?

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Seed aren’t you a Lakers fan? Didn’t Kobe demand a trade and then pull back when he couldn’t team up with Luol freaking Deng? Lol go to sleep

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    I’m shocked y’all still take Seed seriously

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Me two. And I’m one of us.

  • 1tail

    Not only did Kobe demand a trade, but he cried on both radio shows when he did it.

  • http://Slamonline.com Kevin Durant’s Backpack

    This is exactly what happend last year. Bron Bron is always good in the regular season. He’s gonna be awful in the playoffs again. Hey Lebron can I have a dollar? Sorry I only got 3 quarters. My man KD will be MVP and nba finals MVP this year when the thunder strike Chris bosh And the crybabies.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Kobe demanded a trade, but what MVP is going to join another top 3 player in the NBA, and go to his city when their team had the best record two straight years and that player already has took his team to a ring. NOBODY but Lebron and when Knicks win 1st round. Everyone will BOOK IT!!

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    ^^^Serious talk, BlackPhantom.

  • http://www.thedynastyboys.com lix

    Jordan was in his eigth season when he won his 1st title. Before that, he had ZERO Finals appearances. Kobe lost two Finals. Why can’t some of you actually pay attention to facts before you post dumb comments? All that hate you have for LBJ is killing brains cells.

  • http://www.thedynastyboys.com lix

    Hey “Nella”, I’d recognize that Lebron hate anywhere. How are you gonna feel when the Heat send the Bulls home AGAIN?

  • AsadSaleh3

    So many folks misuse the term “hate”. It’s almost like if LeBron misses a shot and someone points it out, there’s always an idiot who will think it’s “hating”. Jordan and LeBron have nothing in common. The comparisons need to stop. Jordan was the ultimate alpha dog. His best teammate started out as a bench player and turned himself into a top 50 player. LeBron left his city, a team he carried to the best record two seasons in a row to join D-Wade’s team in D-Wade’s city. If he had played in the playoffs consistently like he played in the regular season especially his last year in Cleveland, they would have gotten to the Finals. They had Boston on the ropes after LeBron exploded in Game 3. Two different mindsets when you’re talking about MJ and LeBron. There’s not really a player we can compare with LeBron. I’m not sure he even wants to be compared with anyone.

  • aaron

    And there has never been a player like LeBron so comparing him to anyone is ridiculous. He shot a higher % this year than Larry Bird ever did. His PER is better than Jordan’s ever was, he assists at a higher % than Magic did and Rebounds at a Higher rate than anyone at his position. Uncomparable


    nbk should join wade in wade’s mom’s house


    LOL at all you chumps who argued that Wade will lead Miami in scoting & be the man on this team. Your weak minded opinions could never come near this & you have absolutely nothin to hang to. Bron is THE BEAST , MVP & he will get his ring.

  • K.a.

    Nbk, i get ur argument. This is how i differentiate mj, tim. The fact when they get to the finals, they never lost. To me not losing when it counts means more than number wins. So yeah, i do feel that even if lebron wins 6 there will always be those 2 losses that mars his rep. Its not hating, its just my internal logic.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    If Michael didn’t win the title he failed: getting further (the finals) means you won more before you lost and logically, lost to a better opponent.

  • thisisit

    so here it is, the real reason why lebron came up short vs dallas last year. lebron was approached by a syndicate and told him that if mia won against dallas, his mom will join jordan’s dad in the afterlife. cant believe this story hasnt leaked yet. this year though, lebron can play his game to the fullest.

  • Ali

    We shall see in the playoffs! Let’s go NYK! If this is the Heats year, make it tough on em’!

  • Saied Mirkhani

    I am a big fan of Miami Heat. I have not miss watching a Miami game for the last 2 seasons. L. James, D. Wade and C. Bosh are the best in NBA.
    My only concern for play off 2012 is:
    1- Heat coach Sp. does not seem to be the right coach for a top NBA team.
    2- Miami Heat bench is not performing well comparing to the other teams in East and West in playoff.

    Mr. Pat Riley picked the best 3 in NBA 2 years ago but did not select a good support group around them.
    To win the championship, Heat big 3 need to really sacrifise theselves and play over 40 minutes in each game at their best performabnce level of play.
    The big 3 are capable of doing that and I hope the rest of the team step up and play better to win the chamionship. Miami Heat is well deserve to win it.

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher


  • andrew

    bryan bynum u are a dumb a**

  • AsadSaleh3

    The only player who should be compared to Jordan is Kobe. I don’t care what anyone says, this is the main point. Regardless of how long it took, when Jordan got to the Finals, he played his best and he won. 6 for 6. That’s it. And we all know if his father hadn’t have been killed and he had never retired the first time to play baseball, he very well could have gone 8 for 8. 6 for 6 is insane by itself. To retire, come back and play almost like you never left is ridiculous. They lost to the Magic, and he comes back the next season as an even better player? That’s crazy. Bring up your regular season stats if you’d like when trying to compare LeBron and Michael. The Finals is when you separate yourself from everyone else on the floor. Jordan did it. Kobe has done it. Wade did it. LeBron has yet to do it.

  • Ali

    THEY DON’T HEAR YOU AsadSaleh3! Say it again! Hahaha…

  • http://juan.garcia@computershare.com Miami Joe

    To me the most sickening comment is he says “no excuse year for me”. you mean you have excuses for the years before?

  • angeli

    kobe is no way near Jordan.

    We are not talking about rings here. Jordan is far better than Kobe in over-all play.

  • DreDay

    Asad is on point and reading his comments compared to others. You can tell GROWN Men from Children. Just saying.
    Go Bulls!!

  • lakernation

    @tRay@lahuey, to answer your question… YES! He’s out of the conversation w/ Jordan and Kobe, I didnt say anything about Bird and Magic. It isnt a silly point, it’s a valid point. He hasn’t won anything but d_riders quick to throw him in conversations like he has. He’s been in the L 8 yrs, father time will soon take all of the jumping and sprinting down the court like a gazelle away from him and when he does Lebron will be force to change his game….. I wonder if his shooting % remains as high…. probably not it will drop significantly, jumpshots too ugly. What i’m trying to say is, we tend to pre-judge lebron James every year around this time as this changed leader that has learned from his past failures. I dont buy it, I think Durant will get one before he will. CANT WAIT FOR THIS POSTSEASON TO KICK OFF BABY!

  • http://juan.garcia@computershare.com Miami Joe

    Chips are all that matter. Do you remember Worthy, for example, as a side kick? Or do you remember him for his clutchness and championships? Thought so.

  • Ali

    Word up Miami Joe…F*** percentages and stats… When it matters most in The Playoffs, In Conference Championships, In The Finals, WHAT DO YOU DO, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE.

  • lakernation

    ^^two thumbs up^^ miami joe and ali

  • http://www.slamonline.com Yvonne Jeter-Abdullah

    I am a big fan of the Miami Heat. I am a basketball player myself and I hope you will take my constructive criticism in the right way. I suggest that first of all you get back on defense run hard and match up with your man and if not communicate better on switches. Also crash those defensive boards all five players must do so because you can’t win without the ball. It’s defense that wins games and you need to up the intensity level to match that of your opponent. Also move the ball around swing it and make the defense work. You are too stagnant in your offense and have to much isolation and your opponent does not have to make any adjustments because you allow them to rest and to key in on what you are doing. You need to mix up your game and utilize your strengths. Make sure to drive the ball to the basket and make your opponent move their feet and work don’t just settle for jumpers use your athleticism. You also need to when a ball is on the floor get down there and get it be more aggressive. It’s a game of possessions and every one counts. Take your time on your free throws and take a deep breath and remember to bend your knees and to follow through. If you get beat on defense the weak side defender needs to compensate for that. Stay with one another don’t hang your heads or point fingers be supportive of each other. Go out there you are professionals and get that win tomorrow night and bring it home for a 7th game. I will be watching! GO HEAT! Sincerely, Yvonne Jeter-Abdullah

  • http://www.slamonline.com Yvonne Jeter-Abdullah

    Hi! It’s Yvonne Jeter-Abdullah. I’m back I forgot to mention a few things and I certainly hope they help. Also remember to pass and cut, screen and roll and drive the ball to force the defender to react and then find the open man. And after further review of some of the tape on SBNATION. I must reiterate that it is imperative that you get back on defense, when the score was 78-75 Ray Allen ran back D-Wade you didn’t and luckily he was unable to convert the three-point shot attempt. Please remember that you set the tone for the rest of the team and the term Superstar is really not relevant. You are all stars and it takes a collaborative effort to win. So therefore, you all can lead one another by fine tuning your roles on and off the floor and establishing a camaraderie that can’t be matched by your opponent. When a foul is not called or a turnover is forced don’t further compound the problem by not getting back. Find a way to make up for it on the defensive end. I want to see you exhibit the effort that Norris Cole exhibited when he sprinted back and made that critical steal. All of you need to lead by example and fine tune this machine and do all the intangibles that are necessary to win a NBA Championship. If a player as Stephen A. Smith says sometimes hits a tough shot (it was good defense and just better offense) make sure to at least get a hand in their face and closeout on them. And pray together and “God” willing you will be victorious. GO HEAT!!! I am looking for a win tonight from your biggest fan!!! Sincerely, Yvonne Jeter-Abdullah