In the Summer of 2010, there were three basketball players one singular question: Has the organization you play for done enough to win a championship? For two of the three, the answer was no. The one who held the championship also held the sway and the respect of his franchise and the Big Three was born. The Miami Heat and Dwayne Wade were on the same page. And Dwayne Wade would agree to take less money to make sure the team had the pieces to win. At that moment in time, it wasn’t about the money.
In 2014, when Lebron took his talents from South Beach back to Cleveland, Dwayne Wade gave up money. In the summer of 2015, Dwayne Wade took less money by not demanding a multiple year deal. During these years, it wasn’t about the money.
However, if ESPN’s Sunday Conversation shows Dwayne Wade explaining his move to the Chicago Bulls was not about the money, then we are cashing out. Very simply, the only move that would’ve not been about the money is if he would’ve joined Lebron in Cleveland. So, either it is about the money or Lebron didn’t give him an escape hatch near his hometown of Akron.
Athletes with irrational confidence notwithstanding, Dwayne Wade cannot believe the Chicago Bulls have a better shot at winning a championship than the Cavaliers. So is it not about putting another ring on the finger. Unless Lebron didn’t offer Wade a Cavalier opportunity, then the answer is about money.
Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat were partners for number #3s entire career. And Dwayne has a keen business sense. Is it fair to say that Wade’s brand would’ve suffered had he jettisoned the Miami Heat for the hated Cleveland Cavaliers? The argument could be made. Chicago was the safer choice and coming back home was better for his brand. So the answer is about money.
The team that offered the most money was Denver. But Denver would not make the playoffs, meaning no extra playoff share. Chicago has more media coverage, more marketing opportunity, more human interest storylines, more opportunities beyond basketball. Chicago offers more financial opportunity than Denver overall. So was it really not about the money?
Could the answer be about respect also? Of course it can. But respect, in this case, also came in the form of money. And Chicago, even with state tax unlike Miami, offered a little bit more. Respect or money or both?
The great thing was that Dwayne Wade make his hallmark career not about the money. Money always took a backseat. And this isn’t Latrell Spreewell saying he needed to feed his family. There is no shame in saying it is about the money. But Dwayne Wade saying it isn’t about the money put a little shame into it.