Dwyane Wade Dishes On The Art Of Flopping, Past And Present
By Jamie Cooper
Dwyane Wade has been guilty of some pretty egregious acting jobs in his career. The most recent came earlier this month against the Wizards when he turned in a tour de force performance after getting hit with a screen from Jason Smith. The veteran Bulls guard crumbled to the ground and laid there seemingly punch-drunk for several moments as if he’d been pummeled with a force so mighty that no mere mortal could withstand it.
It’s all part of the game, as Wade told Dan Patrick on his radio show recently, and far from being apologetic about it, Wade doubled down and went on to say that the tactics he employs are becoming increasingly archaic and that he feels the need to modernize his flopping methods in order to keep up with the rest of the league.
At this point in his career, I suppose it’s useless to pretend. As age and declining physical skills take their inevitable toll, Wade needs every advantage he can get. But that was just one part of a wide-ranging discussion. He also had some pretty interesting things to say about Russell Westbrook and this season’s MVP race.
Right now, most of the basketball cognoscenti has Westbrook leading the pack for MVP, in no small part due to the astonishing fact that he’s currently averaging a triple double, the only player to do so this far into a season since Oscar Robertson. But Wade brings up the rather problematic issue of how we interpret an individual player’s overall “value.” It’s a debate that likely won’t end any time soon.
From there, the discussion shifted to the issues of race and violence in America and how today’s athletes have become more and more outspoken about social issues, a trend that echoes the sports stars of the 60s and 70s whose careers paralleled the volatile Civil Rights movement and whose political involvement is as big a part of their legacy as anything they did inside the arena.
Patrick ventured that perhaps Muhammad Ali’s death was something of a catalyst for this, specifically referencing the powerful anti-violence statement Wade, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James’ gave at last summer’s ESPYs amid nationwide tension between police and the black community. Wade agreed that he and others have been inspired to speak out because of Ali’s cultural impact.
Still, it remains to be seen what Wade and other pro athletes will do to keep that momentum going as the country heads deeper into even more uncertain terrain.