- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade used to have doubts about whether the trend he and his Miami Heat teammates set during free agency was good for the league. Now he's sure he made the right decision for himself and for the NBA as a whole.
"I think it's been good for the league," Wade told ESPNChicago.com Thursday during a promotional event for his Wade's World Foundation. "I think NBA basketball is as big as it's been in a long time, and it's a lot of excitement around basketball. It's a lot of talk about (the game). At the end of the day, that's our job, to grow this game. This game has grown and it will continue to grow so as long as we're not hurting the league, I feel that we're helping it."
Wade said he can see similarities between the way the Heat were assembled and the way other teams have decided to build for the future.
"I see similarities to certain teams where they feel they have to beef up in a sense," Wade said. "It's not (like) every team is going to get three big-name players in a sense, but you can get what you feel is a very, very good player that really helps the team.
"Like the Clippers. They did a good job with bringing in very, very good players with the superstars like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, that can help them get to where they want to get to. So there's a lot of teams that's doing a lot of things to be competitive and compete and that's what you should expect."
Wade believes one of the reasons the Heat finally won a title this season was because the team finally let go of playing the villain role every night.
"I thought last year we embraced it too much," he said. "I thought we got away from the reason we all play this game is the enjoyment of basketball that we fell in love with when we was 5, 6, whatever, however (many) years old. I thought last year we kind of got into prove-everybody-wrong (mode). We wanted to show everybody that they wasn't right. That's just not the right way to play the game. Even though we was mildly successful by making it to the championship, we wasn't successful by winning the championship.
"I think that everything happens for a reason. We shouldn't have won it last year because we didn't have the right pure mentality of what it takes to win a championship in the game of basketball. This year we came back with a different mind state, a different focus, and our attention was on, 'Let's do this for ourselves. Let's go out and live our lifelong dream out of winning a championship,’ and we did that."
Wade admits that even winning may not change the public perception surrounding his team.
"One thing you can't control, you can't control who likes you and who doesn't," he said. "If you focus your life on that you'll be a wreck. Our job is to go out there and play the game of basketball to the best of our ability and try to be the players that everyone has come accustomed to and expect us to be. For us as a team, (we) try to reach our own goals.
"Our goal every year is to put ourself in a position to compete for a championship. We've done that the last two years and hopefully we stay healthy and we're able to do that again this year. But besides that, I'm not going to overly concern myself with too much more."
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