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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.