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Dwyane Wade: Heat set a trend

CHICAGO -- Love or hate the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade knows that he and teammates LeBron James and Chris Bosh set a trend the rest of the NBA will follow for years.

"Yes, we have," Wade told ESPNChicago.com Thursday morning during an event for his "Wade's World" charity. "I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, but more guys are going to look to team up and do things like that."

Wade, who said recently that criticism during the season of the Heat was "unfair" in some respects, still isn't quite sure why his team faced so much hatred.

"I don't know. I wish I could pinpoint it," he said. "Obviously, people don't like change. And we changed things. We changed the way things were done. People don't like that. It takes time to get used to it. Whenever you're the first to do something, it's not always the best thing. But eventually later on you get to see, it wasn't that bad. You can look at a guy like Allen Iverson when he first came in the league, tattoos, braids, all these things, it wasn't cool.

"It was cool on the outside, but in the NBA world it wasn't cool. Now you see people around the world with tattoos, braids, no matter what profession you're in, it's OK. But he was one of the first ones, as an athlete, to do it. And you've seen that he got a lot of backlash, but now it's a cool thing to do. Anybody can get braids now, anybody can get tattoos now, and it's not as bad. When you're the first one to do something, it's always the worst, but eventually it comes around."

Wade agreed with the notion that the Heat became the "NWO" of the NBA, the wrestling storyline that placed good guy wrestler Hulk Hogan, among others, in a group that played the role of villains for several years in the WCW during the late '90s.

"In a sense, right?" he said with a laugh. "We're game-changers in that capacity. We set a trend in the way of how it was done, but we really haven't did too much different than what was done back in the day. When you think about the great teams, the Bill Russell teams, you think about all these teams that have four Hall of Famers, three Hall of Famers, five Hall of Famers. It's just now in today's world, social media, and all these things, it becomes bigger than it was back in the day. But, it was some of the same stuff happening [back then]."

Wade was noncommittal when asked about whether the NBA would have a season this year.

"I don't know," he said. "Hopefully."

Would he consider playing overseas?

"I don't know," he said. "We'll see. Obviously, I want to play in the NBA, and that's my first option, but if it's not an option, then I have to open up my options."

The one thing Wade was certain of was that he would be playing on the U.S. Olympic team next summer in London. When asked whether he would compete for Team USA if the lockout canceled all of this upcoming season, Wade did not hesitate.

"Yes," he said.

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.