Dwyane Wade was in New York City promoting a healthy lifestyle. The NBA Store was packed with kids from New York and New Jersey who came to take part in Pepperidge Farm’s new “Goldfish Games,” campaign to encourage active living. While the event was fun and exciting, not too many media member showed up to see Flash mess with some kids.
After play time came to a close, the media aimed questions in every direction, Wade seemed to comment on just about everything that was on his mind. Wade spoke to the media for nearly a half hour. Topics ranged from the Gold Medal, the Heat, to Converse and Stephon Marbury.
In that time, SLAM’s tape recorder caught a few snippets.
ON WINNING THE GOLD MEDAL
Both of them a very special to any athlete that plays in the NBA. They all want to win a championship and winning a gold medal is real big because you’re doing it, not just for yourself or you respective team, but you’re doing it for the USA as a country, I think that makes it special. It’s something that not a lot of people get the opportunity to do, that’s just to play in the Olympics, let alone win a Gold Medal.
I think we put USA Basketball back on the map. We let everyone know that once our best players get together we’re still the best in this game. We’ve just gotta keep it that way. Most of it was showing the world that we weren’t everything they say we are – which is cock overpaid athletes, and to ourselves too. A lot of people got the opportunity to see that we’re just cool people. We were at all the media events and community events that we could be at. We just enjoyed the whole experience, so, I think people realized that we’re not what people say we are.
The Bronze didn’t feel good and the gold felt great. It’s just the difference between “if you’re not first, you’re last.” We had a difference team, we had better talent this time around but, we’ve had a team that was preparing for this for three years. We all knew each other and everybody put their egos aside and went out there and did it for each other. In ’04, it was a little different. We had a different team and a week and a half to prepare for it. That was it.
For the future, there are a lot of great players in our league, but one that comes to mind if Kevin Duarnt. He could be on the team and he will be on the team. He’s an unbelievable talent with his height and athleticism and the way he shoots the ball. Even going against him in practice, he played well because he can get a shot off at any moment. There are a lot of other young players in this league that are going to get better and maybe by the time the next Olympics come around there will be some surprises that make the team.
ON HOW HIS KNEE IS NOW
It feels great. I’m healthy, I’m strong, looking forward to training camp, which starts next week and then the new season is almost here. That’s what you work hard for all summer. You work hard to get back healthy and get your strength up to go through an 82 game season.
I’m going to be better suited this season, last year, I ending the season early, not really playing the last two or three months, if I had went the whole summer then that would have been a long time without competition. I had the opportunity to play against the best competition in the world and I was very healthy. Coming into next season, I’ll have a jump start. I’m in better position now than if I would have finished the season and didn’t play in the Olympics.
ON MIAMI’S OFFSEASON AND REBUILDING
I think the main thing is to get better every year. Knowing that rebuilding is a process, sometimes, like when we got Shaq, it started our process a little early. Right now we’re getting those pieces that we can get. The next two years are going to be very important. Every summer me got to get better and ad something to make sure that we better ourselves. We know it’s not an overnight success, but it can happen very quickly. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel in Miami, but there are going to be some different twists from what there was in the past.
ON THE HEAT’S POINT GUARD SITUATION
Right now, we have a young point guard in Mario Chalmers, who is going to be a bright spot in the future. I don’t think it’s a huge deal because I play a lot of point guard and handle the ball a lot as well. My main thing with Chalmers, and Quinny and Marcus is for them to knock down shots. They don’t need to worry about being an inexperienced point guard, just worry about knocking down shots. If they’re hitting shots, I’ll get them paid.
ON THE HEAT’S COACHING CHANGE
He’s kind of a combination of the old school and the new school. He’s got the old school style because he’s learned under Pat Riley. A lot of his coaching ways come from what he’s seen Pat Riley do, but at the same time, he’s a young coach and he understands today’s players and he understands the game today as well, so I think it’s going to be exciting. We all respect him and we are excited that he’s going to be out coach next year.
His biggest challenge is just being a young coach. Every coach grows as the years go on. Coaches get smarter, better, calmer. There is going to be a lot thrown at him early, a lot of expectations for him being the youngest coach in the NBA, and the challenge is not letting that get to you. Just go out there and do what you know how to go. Communicate with your players and don’t let the stress of the NBA get to you.
We didn’t know when it was going to come, but we kind of knew he was going to be the next coach. He was kind of being groomed to be it and he started taking more control of things like practice and film sessions. He started doing pretty much everything. His voice has been heard, he’s just a new face on the sidelines for you guys. For us, his voice has been there for the last couple of years.
ON INCREASED LEADERSHIP WITH THE HEAT
As you become more of a veteran in this league, as you come to understand the game more, it’s your job to pass down knowledge to other guys. A lot of guys did that to me early on in the league and now it’s my job to pass it on to other guys. Hopefully that cycle keeps growing. If that cycle keeps growing our league will keep growing. I’m excited for this new time in my career and to really be the face of the franchise. It’s going to be tough, we got some new faces, but we’re going to compete all year.
ON MIKE BEASLEY
On thing is that when you have a top three pick, he’ll usually come in to be the face of the franchise and have a lot of pressure. It’s great because he’s coming into a situation where he don’t have to be everything right away, he’s going to have Shawn Marion and myself to take that away, so, he’s going to get an opportunity to be even better than if we hadn’t been there or if he got drafted by another team. I think it’s a great opportunity for him to come in and learn and to also contribute and have a great year and do a lot of things.
ON STEPHON MARBURY POSSIBLY COMING TO MIAMI
It’s not my job to decide that. Right now, the only thing I can worry about is who is in Miami, not who can come or who a trade or whatever can bring. My job is to concentrate on Miami. I was his back-up in 2004, so, in the three or four minutes that he came out, I had the opportunity to get in there. I never really played with him. You never can judge a guy from what you’ve heard. Shaq wasn’t supposed to be the ideal teammate and he came to Miami and after everything I heard about him, nothing showed.
ON LEBRON AND KOBE’S SHADOW
Lebron and Kobe are two of the best players in the NBA. Chris Paul can get in there and hopefully I can get in there. It’s different players you can talk about on any night that could be the best player. I don’t take the approach where “Ok, I’m going to do this and be better than Lebron and Kobe.” I’m just going out there to be the best player that I could be.
ON “BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD” – Pat Riley
I wouldn’t expect coach to say anybody else was better than me. It’s always great when the President of your team has that much confidence in you. We have a great relationship and we’re both on the same page.
ON HIS DEAL WITH CONVERSE
I’m under contract for a couple more years. That’s what I can say.
ON MIKE D’ANTONI & THE NEW YORK KNICKS IN 2010
The Knicks are not worried about me. They’re worried about no. 23 and he’s in Cleveland. They’re not worried about me. It don’t surprise me. First of all, no. 23 is 23-years-old, and he’s young. He’s one of the best players in the game and you can only see it getting better. I’m in a good market in Miami and Cleveland’s not as good marketwise. So, it only makes sense, to have one of the best players in the best market. Kobe is already in a great market and that’s why they already put #23 in a Knicks jersey. With all the attention on him, it’s easier for me.
It’s going to be exciting for Coach D’Antoni. Me and him had a lot of dialogue throughout the Olympics because we open up against this Knicks on the 29th this season. So, I look forward to seeing him when we play here in New York.
He’s a great coach, not only offensively. He’s got a tough job on his hands, not just because of the team he has, but because of the city he’s in. I think if anybody can do it, he can and he’s just got to have patience.
I love offense, so why wouldn’t I (want to play for Mike D’Antoni’s team). I love Nate McMillan for his defense and Coach D’Antoni for his offense. There is no subliminal message though, I like New York, but I’m Miami Heat all day.