Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors has been the talk of the NBA and will continue to be the talk of the league for this upcoming season. Many fans defending Durant's much criticized decision have referenced The Decision, saying that what KD did is no different than what LeBron James did when he took his talents to Miami in 2010.
Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan all voiced their displeasure with Durant's departure, saying they would have never joined a rival. Reggie Miller took it a step further, publishing an essay on Bleacher Report titled: Kevin Durant Traded a Sacred Legacy for Cheap Jewelry.
All of this dialogue got me to thinking about Dwyane Wade and his contract impasse with the Heat and how he took less money when LeBron and Chris Bosh came to town. Which, upon closer examination, got me to thinking further about LeBron and The Decision.
A crazy thought eventually came to me. Had James never taken his talents to South Beach would Dwyane Wade's overall NBA legacy be greater when he retires?
Before everyone gets in an uproar, I'm talking about the perception of his legacy among NBA fans and the media. Not in Miami. That should be set in stone.
This theory may sound ridiculous on the surface, but just hear me out.
When Miami won their first championship in 2006 Wade's performance was legendary. "The Flash," as Shaq liked to refer to him, averaged just under 35 points and 8 rebounds in close to 44 minutes per game.
More importantly, Miami trailed in the series 2-0 and were down 13 at home, 89-76, with six minutes to play in Game 3. Wade scored 12 points for an improbable comeback and finished the game with 42 points and 13 boards. This comeback devastated the Mavericks and the Heat went on to win the next three games for the title.
This was Wade's team, Wade's championship. He was absolutely majestic in that series.
Now, if LeBron never comes to the Heat, the 2006 championship is forever what Wade is remembered for. An all-time finals memory, permanently etched in people's minds.
As it stands, that championship gets lost in the shuffle a bit and the most famous single moment in Heat history now belongs to Ray Allen. A gun for hire whose joining the Heat was closer to what Durant did than what LeBron did when he joined Miami.
During the Heat's two championships after LeBron arrived Wade was still announced last at every home game but there is no doubt that this was LeBron's team. As a result, even though Wade was great in both these series, his greatness was a little overshadowed by LeBron's presence.
If LeBron never comes to Miami, that one Championship is extra special and is higher in value according to the principle of scarcity. In the same way, one in Oklahoma City for Durant would have been worth at least three for him in Golden State.
What Wade did in 2010 was unselfish and all about winning, so I'm absolutely not being critical. I mean, even saying that Dwyane Wade's all-time legacy could have been diminished after winning two more rings sounds preposterous even as I write it.
Nevertheless, it's still an interesting idea and one that merits some serious discussion.