Dwyane Wade knows he’s a diva but he means no disrespect

The Miami Heat star ruffled some feathers when he kept shooting during the pre-game warm-up while the Canadian national anthem was being sung

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 May, 2016, 2:33pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 May, 2016, 2:33pm

Dwyane Wade is a diva. Of that there is little doubt. There is also little doubt about his greatness as a basketball player either. The Miami Heat star has easily been one of the top 10 players in the NBA over the last dozen or so years and that is why he is paid US$20 million this season and has made close to US$160 million during a career where he has won three championships. It seems that one begets the other, making mega millions and being a diva, so it was not surprising that before game three of their second-round play-off match-up against the Toronto Raptors in Miami that Wade may have been oblivious to certain protocols.

At the very least they now know who Wade is – a helplessly self-absorbed person referencing himself in the third person. In other words, a highly paid professional athlete

While he was doing his pre-game shoot around, a choreographed routine that he claims has been etched in stone forever, a young girl suddenly started singing Oh Canada in honour of the visiting team. Things were slightly frantic, both teams had to scramble to line up accordingly and Wade needed to make the last shot of his routine, which he kept missing. Naturally things went viral, as they do these days, and footage of Wade finishing his shooting as the anthem started predictably infuriated some in Canada most notably a few politicians.

When asked about it after the game, which they lost 95-91, Wade seemed initially indignant that anyone would question his motives. “I’m not a disrespectful person,” he said. “So if anyone thinks I’m being disrespectful to a country then they have no idea who Dwyane Wade is.” Not exactly the apology the folks in the Great White North were waiting to hear. But at the very least they now know who Wade is – a helplessly self-absorbed person referencing himself in the third person. In other words, a highly paid professional athlete.

Watch Dwyane Wade keep shooting as the Canadian anthem is sung

The Miami Heat pay this man an ungodly sum to think about basketball and little else and for most of his career that is what he has done. Of course, had a Canadian player done something similar during the playing of the American national anthem, it likely would have become an international incident whether it was innocent or not. But just because Canada borders America, it doesn’t have to mirror it. What Wade did was undoubtedly a bit disrespectful, however it was hardly disdainful because in order to be disdainful you would actually need to have an opinion on something other than the trajectory of your jump shot.

He is a superstar doing superstar things that no one on either team is capable of. He is a diva in the truest sense of the word

Back in 1991 when the US invaded Iraq for the first time, Canadian forces were also involved in the military operation and Major League Baseball mandated that all teams would have a decal of both the US and Canadian flags on the back of their batting helmets to show their support for the troops. But Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andy Van Slyke, whose brother saw action in Iraq, decided to peel the Canadian decal off his helmet because he was not a Canadian, he was an American. Now that is disdainful as well as insulting and the commissioner’s office was quick to tell Van Slyke to hold off on the jingoism and conform.

Wade also spoke with the NBA commissioner’s office as well and was far more contrite the next day when he issued a sweeping apology to Canada for offending them. He was also the first player in line when the anthem was played before game four and was predictably booed, but not too rabidly, during game five in Toronto. End of story, at least for most of us. Far more prevalent is the fact that Wade and Wade alone has willed the under-manned and beat-up Heat into a competitive series against a superior but underachieving Toronto club.

At 34 years of age, his greatness comes in bursts now but unfortunately for the Raptors this is the best burst Wade has experienced in almost three years. He is a superstar doing superstar things that no one on either team is capable of. He is a diva in the truest sense of the word just like fellow diva’s LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the reigning two-time MVP Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

Curry routinely poses and shimmies and flat out revels in his genius when he makes one big shot after another. But because he is unfailingly decent and accommodating off the court, his indulgence is allowed. He is not disrespecting his opponents, we are told, he is merely celebrating his greatness. Dwyane Wade’s greatness is not so effortless these days. He needs to work on it a little more than Curry. Hopefully, you understand that and allow him certain indulgences. No disrespect intended, just ask the man.