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Dwyane Wade says chasing championships with the Heat wasn't fun and felt like a job

Dwyane Wade stands with his hands on his hips during a playoff game in 2014.
Dwyane Wade was tired by 2014.
  • Dwyane Wade told Insider that chasing championships with the Heat wasn't always fun.
  • Wade said it was hard going against the whole NBA and that playing basketball became a job.
  • Many in the NBA have spoken about the mental and physical exhaustion of chasing championships.

Every NBA player dreams of chasing championships, but that pursuit can be draining.

Just ask Dwyane Wade, who made four straight Finals runs from 2011-2014 with the Miami Heat, all while facing the burden of being the expected champions each season.

"I also could look at those championship years, and I can look at the journey and say, 'That shit wasn't fun,'" Wade told Insider while promoting his new photo memoir, "Dwyane."

Wade said while he looks back fondly on his career, especially the highlights — the dunks, the game-winners — but the pursuit of championships alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh wore him down.

"It's not fun trying to accomplish something so great that everybody's trying to stop you from having it," Wade said. "That's not fun. So as much as a lot of moments were so fun, it was a lot of moments that was work, and it was a job, and it was tough mentally and physically."

Those Heat teams were under a microscope that few others could understand, thanks to Wade, James, and Bosh teaming up together in 2010. 

In the book, Wade wrote of the Heat's 2012 championship: "When we won that first title in 2012, I felt validated.  We heard for so long how we ruined the game and how we didn't deserve to win the title because we 'took the easy way out.' Look, we had fun, and we whooped a lot of ass along the way, but nothing was easy."

Still, it's not as if Wade never had any fun playing during those years. In a 2020 interview with Insider, Wade said the 2012-13 Heat had fun playing together, particularly when they went on a 27-game winning streak.

"Our whole team was just clicking, and we were having fun during that process," Wade said.

He added: "Like, two years before, we was the team that was hated because of the decision we made. And then two years later we was loved because we have fun playing the game of basketball. And winning 27 in a row, man, it felt like you can never lose. It was just automatic. Down 27 in a fourth quarter? That's okay. We'll come back. It was that mentality, and it was so much fun and memories that we'll always have."

Nonetheless, numerous players from different eras have discussed the grind of trying to repeat as champions.

The subject was featured prominently in ESPN's  "The Last Dance" about Michael Jordan and the Bulls at the end of their second "threepeat."

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have frequently said their run of five straight Finals appearances was taxing mentally and physically. Curry's trainer Brandon Payne told Insider that Curry was often in "catch-up" mode in recovery and training because his seasons ended in June and restarted in September.

Ironically, one person that hasn't spoken about it at length is James, who played in eight straight Finals from 2011-2018.

For Wade, the best times may have been pre-2010, when he was a bit more sprightly.

"I had fun when I had legs," Wade said. "Like, when I was jumping up and just dunking on people and on ESPN every night, that was fun. You know, being youthful and being young and being able to grab the ball to take off from anywhere ... that was fun."

Read the original article on Insider

Dwyane Wade says chasing championships with the Heat wasn't fun and felt like a job
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