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Miami Heat is still Dwyane Wade’s team, despite big name co-stars

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade points  during first half against Chicago Bulls Game 5 NBA Eastern Conference finals basketball series

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade points during the first half against the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals basketball series Thursday, May 26, 2011 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: September 3, 2011 12:33AM

With all the recent buzz about Miami Heat stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh, let’s not lose perspective.

‘‘This is Dwyane Wade’s team, no doubt about it,” Bosh said after he had scored a game-high 30 points in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. ‘‘He has been the face of the franchise all his career, he led them to the [2006] NBA championship, he’s the oldest and most experienced of us three, and he’s the main reason LeBron and I came here.’’

James and Bosh could’ve signed for millions more elsewhere.

Now James is four wins away from being able to say, ‘‘I told you so,’’ to critics who knocked his decision to join Wade and Bosh.

Wade re-signed for millions less so that team president Pat Riley could pay James and Bosh more.

‘‘Without a doubt, this is Dwyane Wade’s team,’’ guard Mario Chalmers said. ‘‘It’s been his team since they drafted him eight years ago. He led them to an NBA championship, and we now all have an excellent chance to win again.

‘‘We had a rough start because of injuries. Plus, it took time for us to get to know each other after bringing in so many new people. Now that we’re healthy, we’re right where we expected to be.’’

After four wins in a row against the Bulls, who had swept the Heat 3-0 during the regular season and won 103-82 in the opening game of the Eastern finals, James is set to help the Heat get revenge in the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, who swept Miami 2-0 in the regular season.

During the regular season, the Heat was 4-9 against the league’s top teams. Its 2-0 mark against the Los Angeles Lakers was its only series win against an upper-echelon team. It was also 1-3 against the Boston Celtics before eliminating them in five games.

You can’t knock former Bull Scottie Pippen for saying James ‘‘may’’ be the best player ever. After all, we’re not living in czarist Russia. He’s entitled to his opinion. His ‘‘may’’ qualifier means Pippen isn’t totally sold on James. He’s talking about James’ potential.

No one can call Michael Jordan the ‘‘best player ever’’ because ‘‘ever’’ includes the future. Who knows what the future holds? If
not James, then perhaps somebody even better might be headed our way.

Throughout the years, the ‘‘greatest player ever’’ tag has been attached to such luminaries as Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant. Now it’s James’ turn.

In the meantime, James’ summer decision is looking outstanding.

‘‘I understand a lot of the backlash that came with me going to Miami,’’ James said. ‘‘But I did what was best for me, for my family and . . . for me as a professional athlete. I wanted to team up with some guys that I understood would never lie down in the moment.

‘‘You know, I’m happy now. In anybody’s job, they always try to find a job where they’ll be happy doing it. That’s where I am right now in life . . . on the court and off.”

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