The NBA Will Be Different Without Dwyane Wade

The NBA Will Be Different Without Dwyane Wade

Things are going to be a little different.

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On Tuesday night Dwyane Wade played his last game in the NBA. I could say how it is the end of an era or all the cliche things but that would be displaying my bias. I was always a fan of Wade not just for being a great player but for how he presented himself. He was known as a professional basketball player but he was also valued for his qualities as a person and what he did for his communities.

His 16-year career was full of ups and downs like many players careers but he also had a way he presented himself and that quality is what will be missed with Dwyane Wade.

Before I began writing this article, I looked up Dwyane Wade to make sure I had my facts correct and the first article that popped up stated: "Dwyane Wade will always be Miami's favorite son." While this was an article from Deadspin it could not be more spot on. Miami loves Dwyane Wade and D Wade loves Miami. In the summer of 2010 when Wade was set to become a free agent Miami Dade county was renamed to Miami Wade county for a week to honor him and convince him to stay in Miami.

It worked and Wade gave back to the community by winning two NBA championships with the help of LeBron and Chris Bosh. Even with these additions, the team was still Dwyane Wade's, and while he might not have been the main voice of the team everyone who paid attention to the Miami Heat since 2003 knew the Miami Heat was Dwyane Wade. Even though I am not from Miami I guess that might have been the hardest part of having to see D Wade leave for his hometown team.

Athletes always find a way to get back to the team that made them who they are or who had a big impact on their career. Jerry Rice went back to the 49ers to retire, Michael Jordan retired three times but he made sure that he retired as a Bull. I knew that it would only make sense for D Wade to retire in Miami and I was glad that last year he returned to the place that started his stellar career. Dwyane Wade always belonged in Miami and now that he is retiring it will be a little different to watch the NBA.

D Wade has been in the NBA since I was 7 and as I get older it becomes more and more strange that these players are close to my age or younger than I am. D Wade paved the way for this generation of players and they grew up watching him. Being able to play with someone so much like Wade must be a dream but watching him play his final game well that must be up there too because there is not a word to describe it.

To say watching the NBA next year will be different is a massive understatement. I watched someone who I remember winning his 1st NBA championship retire by going off into the sunset. I know D Wade will be around and I know that the respect he has garnered will not disappear but there is just something about the NBA without Dwyane Wade that I can't fathom. Thank you for a great 16-year career D Wade. You will always be Miami's son but most importantly you will always be many basketball players' role models.

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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Bucks V. Celtics Vol. 2: The Rise Of The Greek Freak

The clashing of Milwaukee and Boston is going to be one to remember.

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Boston is a fantastic sports city. The amount of championships achieved by clubs in Beantown is staggering. From the Celtics' 17 NBA titles to the Red Sox's nine World Series wins to the Bruins and Patriots each taking home the highest possible caliber hardware in six different instances, respectively, the city is not for want when it comes to such lofty team metrics as championship rings.

And with that history in mind, there is no denying that the Bucks-Celtics series is about to be among the most heavy-hitting of all those that are happening in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

The Bucks just won their first playoff series since 2001, dispatching the Detroit Pistons in four games. The Celtics are just trying to get back where they left off last year in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Meeting in the playoffs for the second consecutive time, the Bucks and Celtics went toe-to-toe last season in the opening round of the playoffs, where the number two seed Celtics needed seven games to dispense of Giannis Antetokounmpo and his number seven seed squad. Now, the tables have turned. The Bucks are number one in the East and overall in the league, being the only team to win 60 games this season. The Celtics are number four and have struggled at times, having difficulty finding a rhythm.

Bucks v. Celtics vol. 2 is going to be some ridiculously good entertainment.

Pundits and fans alike have debated back and forth for the last week or so about who will be the likely victor in this 2019 rematch. Giannis has size, power, and speed unlike anyone else. Kyrie Irving is basketball's best closer. Brook Lopez shoots the 3 unlike any other NBA big man. Al Horford's defense is electric.

As CBS Sports data scientist Stephen Oh calls it, this series is about as close to a coin flip as any there is.

Nate Silver and the folks at FiveThirtyEight happen to disagree. In fact, their models project a 77% probability that Milwaukee wins the series and advances to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since that 2001 season.

It's hard to argue with that sentiment, despite what Boston Internet trolls might think. Milwaukee has been playing lights out all season. Giannis is almost sure to win the MVP award (provided James Harden's record-breaking offense doesn't do him in) and a 60-22 record is no small feat. The secret ingredient? New head coach Mike Budenholzer.

While Celtics fans are quick to point out that when the Celtics beat the Bucks and advanced to the Conference Finals last season, they did so without a healthy Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward. And while that is true, and while the composition of the Bucks' roster has largely stayed the same since then (the addition of Lopez, Nikola Mirotic, and Pau Gasol not withstanding) Budenholzer's coaching skills vastly outpace those of the departed Jason Kidd.

While Kidd was a chaotic force of nature, Budenholzer cuts himself of Gregg Popovich's cloth, serving 18 seasons under Coach Pop's regime in San Antonio before trying his own luck in Atlanta. And he found success there with the Hawks too, coaching them to an identical 60-22 record and number one seed in the 2014-15 season, ultimately losing in the Eastern Conference Finals.

And while Bostonians may be quick to point out Budenholzer's fall from the Hawks organization (exacerbated by departures of such players as Dwight Howard and Al Horford, currently of Boston) his latest stint with the Bucks has proved what he did in the Peach State was not a fluke. The man can coach.

Of course, his time in Brew City has been made that much sweeter by the rise of the Greek Freak. Now in his seventh year with the club, Giannis has gone from solid development piece to dominant forward in charge of one of the NBA's best collective three-point shooting gangs. His absolute ridiculousness inside the paint (see this dunk/layup thing he did against Detroit) only serves to open it up to such players as Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton (a 2019 All-Star alongside Giannis) beyond the arc. And if there's one place where Budenholzer's philosophy has been prominent, it's here: shoot threes. Shoot a lot of threes.

Which is not news to Irving and his Celtics. They faced the Bucks thrice in the regular season, losing that series 2-1. They're hoping this time is different. Irving's stats this season have largely fallen in line with his career averages, shooting 48.7% on field goals and 40.1% on three-pointers. And he especially found his groove against the Indiana Pacers in the Celtics' last series, despite the fact that they never beat them by more than 10 points in the series sweep.

Will that be enough to beat Giannis and co.? As much may depend on defense, and the collective efforts of young Celtics like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to stop the unstoppable Freak.

In short, the question remains: what happens when such an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Whether it's a 50-50 chance or a 77-23, one thing's for sure: this matchup is about to be one of titanic proportions.

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