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It wasn’t just LeBron. Dwyane Wade had to grow up, too.

Jun 22, 2012, 3:11 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat - Game Five Getty Images

MIAMI — This wasn’t Dwyane Wade’s first time posing with the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Six years ago, a young, brash, fearless and athletic player was an unstoppable force for four games, the Dallas Mavericks had no answer for his attacks to the rim, and it was he that pushed and pulled the Miami Heat to the franchise’s title.

It was a very different Wade that cradled the trophy this year. One that has a much deeper understanding of what it takes to reach this mountaintop.

“(I appreciate it) so much more,” Wade said. “You know, I’ve been through a lot. That 15-win season professionally hurt. Laughingstock of the league coming off a championship. But what I dealt with personally (a nasty divorce and custody battle with his ex-wife) was indescribable in a sense…

“I’m lucky to be put in the position I am. I’m going to enjoy this one way more than I enjoyed 2006. When you get there early, you say ‘oh man, we’re going to do this again next year.’ This is not a guarantee right here, man. You have to enjoy this. And we will do that.”

It was an honest, open, comfortable Wade who spoke still soaked in champagne. A mature Wade. He spoke about how important his family is to him now and how getting to experience this with his children makes it mean all he more. He talked about how even when this super team was put together they had lessons to learn.

“Man, this process is unbelievably hard, and I don’t care who you put on a team,” Wade said. “You know, two years ago, putting this team together, obviously, we expected it to be a little easier than it was. But we had to go through what we had to go through last year. We needed to…

“I went back last night and I watched Game 6 of the (2011) finals, and it was their time. They shots they was hitting was unbelievable. I just seen and I looked at it and said it wasn’t our time. And tonight it was our time.”

It was their time because Wade was mature enough to put his ego aside and not be a co-star — he let this be LeBron James’ team.

“This year I know I’m playing with the best player in the world, and that doesn’t take anything away from me at all,” Wade said.

The 24-year-old Wade would not have said that. Could not have done that. He had some growing up to do, but when he did he became a champion again.

  1. suhnum1fan - Jun 22, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    66 games champion!!! I hate LeFraud James and Dwayne Fade

    • zidanevalor - Jun 22, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      Championship teams are made in November and December.

    • caseybojangles - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      youre an idiot. if anything, the compressed season was tougher both physically and mentally on the players.

    • truthhurtstoo - Jun 22, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      And we hate you too. signed , the world

  2. bougin89 - Jun 22, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    I think Lebron has grown up and matured this year but I absolutely do not agree the same has happened to Wade.

  3. reddolfan66 - Jun 22, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Keep on hating well keep on enjoying ya sounding like idiots, scum bag!!! Go HEAT 2012 NBA Champions hate that pu$$y……

  4. rodge1 - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    @suhnum1fan
    Only a fan of that scumbag Suh would say that. Enjoy your crappy life loser.

  5. canehouse - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    hey suh fan boy… hate all you want biotch! We got the Uncle Larry trophy… and we are going to continue with our elite party weekend and then some!!!

  6. cosmicatomic - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    While LeBron was joyously hugging teammates and coaches after getting subbed out, Wade was practically standing on a chair pandering to the crowd like an idiot.

    While LeBron was humbly hugging and sharing words with members of the Thunder, Wade was literally standing on the scorer’s table celebrating like a WWE wrestler.

    While LeBron was doing a humble interview admitting mistakes and immaturity, Wade was STILL literally standing on the scorer’s table celebrating like a WWE wrestler (not sure if he ever got down in those 5 minutes or so).

    LeBron has probably caught a lot of the flack that Wade should have gotten these past couple years. For all the crap that LeBron gets for “not 1, not 2, not 3″, it was Wade who made the most ridiculous statement when he said they were “arguably the greatest trio to play the game of basketball.” And keep in mind Wade is a few years older, he’s been there before, and he’s supposed to be the leader. I think it’s clear LeBron was an immature 25 year old who had the wrong people in his ear at the time.

    Wade is an assclown.

  7. reedme16 - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    It’s been fun to listen to all of the haters still hating after their main argument no longer exist! Hahaha…..you guys just sound foolish now.

  8. reedme16 - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Lebron almost put up a triple double in back to back finals games. One day you haters will take a step back, grow up, and realize how ridiculous this playoff run was for Lebron!

  9. afreak2u - Jun 22, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    I agree wade grew up anyone who can say I realize it’s now Lebrons team and accept that he isn’t the big star on the team he was three years ago, I don’t
    Believe James could have done the same.

  10. josekicks - Jun 22, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Funny thing is even if it was a 66 game series they played a longer season last year losing in the finals and winning in the finals this season . Hate it all you want but the king has been crowned and just remember he already got the taste of victory so he will be at it again he’s the best in the league

  11. cluckcluck2 - Jun 22, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    That was a terrific performance by Lebron, Bosh, and the Heat. And while I get those who certainly want to rub it in, can we please drop the overuse of the word “hater?” It has a diminishing effect on otherwise valid opinions, and kind of relegates you to the intellectual equivalent of the kids’ table.

  12. balli9999 - Jun 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    That 2006 series was rigged.

  13. bobo0383 - Jun 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    cosmicatomic,

    Were you saying that, when Jordan did the exact same thing during his championships? The shots of Wade pandering to the crowd were quick shots. You have no clue what he was doing before or after. Get off your soapbox, and stfu.

  14. reddman42 - Jun 24, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Wade ain’t nothing but a Coat Tail Rider,he didn’t do Jack in the playoffs,it was all LBJ,he decided that he wanted to show up in the Finals,and still didn’t impress me….

  15. finalword33 - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    I’m just bummed these Finals are over! I wanted to watch more greatness.!

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