Dwyane & Udonis: For Old Times’ Sake

Commentary

That was so fun. Even in loss, that was hella’ fun. Sports is a hardline business. You win or you lose. There is jubilant elation in victory and profound disappointment in defeat. It’s what draws us to sports, dancing the fine line between two extremes. What else provides for that?

Moments in sports are remembered because they are the spoils of winning. The losers don’t get to be remembered, that’s not how this works.

So, yesterday provided for the rare anomaly of sports feel good. Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, again being great.

To see them display an excellence so akin to their heydays in 2009 makes for a feel good story. Wade, an aging star, has been counted out every time he slips. Every time, he overcomes it. He provides a show to dazzle us all, to bask in his excellence. He is forcing you to acknowledge his greatness – one last time.

Haslem is another story. The living, breathing embodiment of Heat culture. The undrafted player who was once too fat to be in the league is once again fighting for the Heat’s survival. Haslem is playing playoff games, plural, with a torn plantar fascia. No complaints, no excuses.

So there they were, allowing us to relive the past in the present, to watch these guys together try to win Miami a game, for olds times’ sake.

Many of us thought we might never get to see that again. Haslem was not a constant in the Miami’s rotation and aging has been cruel to him. Haslem can barely get off the ground and teams ignore him as he rolls to the rim, knowing he is so slow and can’t jump due to several foot injuries.

Wade was believed to be “washed” by the nation and even by some who watch the Heat constantly. He isn’t “Flash” anymore, he is a superstar in decline. What was once a dunk or free throws on a three to one break, Wade being the one, is now a dribble out to wait for teammates. He isn’t the same but there are moments like in Game Six against Charlotte, and yesterday afternoon, where his brilliance carries an entire team.

There have been points in the last five seasons where trust in Wade has been scarce. These playoffs? A different story entirely. It feels just like the days of Wade’s prime where the ONLY thing you trusted is him with the ball.

So, down by 13 in a helpless situation, Wade and Haslem injected life into their team. It was forceful and it was sudden, but damn it if it wasn’t representative of their careers. The co-captains were the only two Heat players who played well. Wade had 18 points in the third quarter and he, along with Haslem, brought Miami back to tie the game.

Throughout the game, Miami kept slipping further and further behind. Hassan Whiteside went down with a knee injury and Miami had no answers for Jonas Valanciunas. Not until he hurt his ankle and couldn’t return to the game. It was then when Wade initiated a run.

And despite their efforts, Miami fell to a Raptors team that desperately needed a win. There is no solace in losing. But still, even the next day, a feeling of happiness sweeps over me. Seeing those two guys play well together is so cool. Even if that’s the last time and even if it was in defeat, I will never forget that game. It was the rare time the loser gets to cherish a memory.

Comments

  1. Brian Goins says:

    That made me weep

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