LeBron always takes the heat, while Dwyane Wade gets a free pass
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org June 12, 2013 11:15PM
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade works out during the NBA basketball team's practice on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in San Antonio. The Heat are scheduled to face the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of their NBA Finals basketball series on Thursday. (AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald, David Santiago) ORG XMIT: FLMEH805
Spurs lead series 2-1
All games on Ch. 7/1000-AM
G1: Spurs 92, at Heat 88
G2: at Heat 103, Spurs 84
G3: at Spurs 113, Heat 77
G4: Thursday at Spurs, 8 p.m.
G5: Sunday at Spurs, 7 p.m.
*G6: Tuesday at Heat, 8 p.m.
*G7: June 20 at Heat, 8 p.m.
Updated: July 15, 2013 7:26PM
SAN ANTONIO — It’s time for Dwyane Wade’s free pass to end.
While members of the sports media have been scampering around the San Antonio area the last 48 hours in yet another open season on LeBron James, Miami Heat teammate Wade has been sitting at the podium, flashing his smile, calling reporters by their first names — and remaining a non-factor on the court.
The former Marquette guard is showing little urgency and even less accountability.
‘‘In the books, the Miami Heat lost the ballgame,’’ Wade said Wednesday, a day after the defending champions were blown out 113-77 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio. ‘‘We win together, we lose together as a team. So everyone has an opinion, and everybody uses their opinion.’’
Funny, because James had an opinion, and it wasn’t clichés like ‘‘win together, lose together.’’ No, it was a star doing what a star should do — fall on the sword.
‘‘I take full responsibility for our team’s performance [Tuesday] night,’’ James said. ‘‘So I’m putting all the pressure on my chest, on my shoulders, to come through for our team. That’s the way it is.’’
And just like that, Wade was able to stay his stealthy self, keeping his approval rating high.
This is the same Wade who Bulls players have said is evolving into one of the league’s dirtier players.
Ask the Charlotte Bobcats’ Ramon Sessions if Wade is a clean player. Wade kicked him in the onions in December and received a one-game suspension. Ask the Indiana Pacers’ Lance Stephenson about Wade . . . if he could remember. It was Wade who threw an elbow to Stephenson’s head in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals and got off scot-free.
Ah, to be a media darling and get the benefit of the doubt.
‘‘It’s a media creation,’’ Spurs veteran Tracy McGrady said of why some stars are held to a different standard. ‘‘I mean, there are some guys we build up to tear them down. That’s just the nature of sports.’’
Wade has long been immune to it. This is a guy who was rewarded two years ago for being a good father. As if that’s an optional occupation.
No, thanks. Wade is just another starter in these Finals, getting a pass for what he used to be, injured knee or not.
‘‘You guys watched the game — you guys can see it,’’ Spurs guard Danny Green said of Wade’s play in the Finals. ‘‘You’ve all seen Dwyane Wade before, and he’s obviously not playing the way he was playing before, so it seems like something is wrong.’’
There is something wrong. The Spurs have a great team, and the Heat has one great player. It certainly isn’t Wade and hasn’t been since “The Big Three’’ came together.
Free passes can have an expiration date.