How's the job? How are the kids?

At HoopSpeak, Beckley Mason reminds us that playing basketball is a profession, however glamorous it might seem to most of us. In every job, the stuff in our personal lives can influence performance at work. So when Dwyane Wade was asked last night why he seemed to have an extra hop in his step on the court, it wasn't all that surprising to hear LeBron James -- sitting alongside Wade on the podium -- answer declaratively, "He’s got his kids, man.”

James is referring to a court ruling that awarded Wade sole custody of Wade's two sons.

Mason offers a disclaimer: we never want to extrapolate too much about performance. Inspiration on the job could be the product of a major event at home, or it could be unrelated to anything external. Your muse might not be mine, and some people -- Mason cites Kobe Bryant -- might actually do their best work when there's adversity in their personal lives.

Still, Mason can intimately relate to the story and wonders if the improvement in Wade's play has been imbued by the verdict:

It’s not just the numbers (two 29 point games, loaded stat sheets) that speak to Wade’s improved performance. The exuberance and fearlessness that seemed dormant for stretches this season has resurfaced, and Wade’s all court game has smoldered, materializing in wild blocks from the weak side, daring explosions to the rim and an irrepressible joy in his game.

It’s hard to know precisely how much Wade and the Heat have benefited, if at all, from his reported happiness at home. I’m not a father, and not all NBA parents are so engaged and wrapped up in their kids’ lives as to declare, as Wade did, “you need to fight to be in your kids’ lives sometimes. You fight until you can’t fight any more. That’s all I was trying to be, a father in his kids’ lives.” But I can imagine, through my relationship with my own single father, how deeply Wade’s prolonged separation from his children and all the nasty intrigue that the custody case involved, could impact all aspects of his life.

You can read the full post at HoopSpeak.