James And Wade Still Plenty Motivated

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MIAMI –
The Miami Heat’s drive for a third straight championship begins Tuesday in the Bahamas, a trip that head coach Erik Spoelstra called “a little bit of a mental reward for what we accomplished last year.”

But there will be no settling for two championships, especially from the Heat’s two biggest stars, who spelled out their motivation for further success at Media Day on Monday.

“I want to be the greatest of all-time,” LeBron James said bluntly. “That’s my motivation. It’s that simple and it’s not that simple.”

That crown currently sits on the top of Michael Jordan’s head in the minds of most. But James has been the best player in the world for five seasons, he has clearly gotten over whatever was holding him back in big moments before 2012, and he took his game to a whole ‘nother level last season. At this point, the thought of him eventually taking Jordan’s spot is impossible to dismiss.

James isn’t worried about how other people rank him, though.

“It’s not to be the greatest of all-time in anyone else’s book or how they judge the greats,” he said. “It’s for me. I feel like I have a potential to continue to get better and maximize my time while I’m able to play this game of basketball. I want to be the greatest. That’s my motivation. That’s all I need.”

In his eyes, he’s still got a long way to go to surpass his idol.

“I’m far away from it,” he said, “but I see the light.”

And if the other 29 teams didn’t have enough to worry about, James said he got better this summer.

“I’m a better basketball player than I was last year in every aspect, he said. “I feel very comfortable and confident in my game right now.”

With James on that “greatest of all-time” path, Dwyane Wade knows his place.

“I’m the second option,” he said Monday. “But I’m a pretty good second option for this team. I’m one of the only second options that averages 20 points a game. That’s not bad at all.”

Questions surround Wade’s health, of course. After suffering a bone bruise, he struggled down the stretch of last season and shot 35 percent from outside the paint in the playoffs.

On Monday, Spoelstra downplayed the long-term outlook on Wade’s knees.

“There’s a major misconception, a major misconception about his health and where he was last year,” the coach said. “He had one of his most efficient, productive years, up until the point he had the bone bruise.

“It was a bone bruise. It wasn’t a knee issue of wear and tear, something completely different.”

Wade said he’s “feeling a lot better,” but will go at his own pace in training camp and the preseason. Until he’s at full speed and looking as explosive as he has in the past, the questions will remain.

But like James, Wade provides his own motivation.

“I always enter [the season] with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “People always think something about something. I play with that chip just because of who I am and where I come from. I’ll always play that way. My thing is to prove myself right more so than to prove you wrong. That’s kind of how I approach things.”

(He just happened to write a note to himself that was inspired by something Kevin Durant said.)

Though they have their own individual goals, James and Wade both know that this is a team sport. To consider himself the best ever, James must win more championships. No one will question Wade’s health if he’s still standing in June. And with much of the Heat roster on expiring contracts (or contracts with options next summer), time itself is plenty motivation.

“I think we understand the team that we have,” Wade said, “and understand that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us as a group. And we want to take advantage of it as much as possible.”

33 Comments

  1. Cripple Rapist says:

    MJ is the greatest??/ OK no doubt about that, BUT this is YEAR 2013 going 2014 season…. i’ll say he’s the greatest during the 90′s BUT that was history… What matters now is the present… stop living in the past… kobe during 2000′s and now it’s lebron’s time…. If you don’t like what’s happening now then stop watching NBA Basketball… light up a candle and pray in front of the pictures of Mj and kobe… your treating them so much like a GOD, might as well pray in front of their presence… Move on…. All of them are just Basketball players even LBJ and DWADE… Their time will past too, but not today…. soon….

  2. Freida says:

    Jordan had super great players around him when he won championships. When he didn’t win championships before then, he had no great players around him LeBron does not have super great players around him. Jordan was a selfish player and LeBron is an unselfish player and can play all 5 positions, not Jordan, Championships don’t mean the greatest player of all times because Bill Russell won 11 Championships and he would then be the greatest player of all time but Jordan is considered the greatest player based on other factors. LeBron still is only 28 years. He is the best now and I guess we will see in the next 8-10 years.

  3. CountonKobe says:

    LOL, at the stupid comment of 3 finals appearances in a row. The lakers went on a 3 finals appearance they failed to 3-peat. As for the 27 game winning streak that means nothing right now because all the stars of the east and the west are back and healthy. Idk if the heat will be able to deal with hibbert and george and now grainger as well. I think this will be their hardest year yet. And ., if they win then they are the team of the 2k10′s. Lebron is getting scary good though, it’s not even funny anymore.

  4. The motivation for these two never ends…

    In Lebron’s case, you’re talking about the quest to be the greatest ever. He’s not complacent with two titles, and won’t be even if he gets a third. While you may think the competition isn’t enough to keep Lebron motivated, just remember he is playing for legacy. Some players play to win titles, scoring titles, mvps, he’s playing for the title of Greatest Ever.

    In Dwyane Wade’s case, he needs no motivation. Everywhere you look, everything you read, every tweet you post bashes him. He is a three time NBA Champion, and without a doubt the 3rd greatest SG to ever play the game of basketball, and uneducated fans (if I can even call them that) bash him. An NBA superstar that is willing to sacrifice his own numbers and fame and popularity for the betterment of his team is a rare thing today, and he should be commended instead of bashed. Believe me, if he took 30 shots a game like Carmelo Anthony, he could compete for league scoring championships as well (in fact, he already won one in his career). Instead, he cares about winning. All that means is continuing to be a top 10 player in the NBA while playing lock down defense (when he wants to), and being more efficient than ever before.

    Listen, we are watching two of the all time greats, and one could be the greatest to ever play. Instead of nitpicking and hating, why not appreciate it? They play the game the right way, they treat their teammates the right way, they’re not in trouble off the court… they are exactly what we want in our superstar athletes….They won’t be around forever and then our children will have to learn how to play the game from selfish ballhogs who only care about their own stats and dollars…. The Miami Heat organization and players are a lesson in what team sports should represent. And sadly, they get picked apart by ignorant fans and haters…

    • Big Dog says:

      This is probably the best comment I have seen in any article, finally someone who can appreciate the greatness and skills put on show night in, night out by these two! Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean they cant ball! LeBron is clearly the best right now and Wade is still one of the top two SG’s in the league, just cause he doesn’t put up 30 a game doesn’t mean that he is any less of a player. They are both champion players and champion role models, appreciate them while you can people!

  5. TheRealDeal says:

    A couple of points I agree with up there.
    Firstly, Oden will be very important down the stretch of the season. The Heat fall that little bit further behind inside with each progressive season. Bird man was great cover last year. Miami got by with limited cover. They really need a solid centre which Oden can provide. If Oden can play 15 mins, Birdman 15 to 20 & some cover with the rest, they should be OK.
    I think Indiana has a great shot at meeting Miami in the ECF. If either Anderson or Oden is down, Indiana will beat them up inside. This is a team that is ready to knock off the Heat from their mantel.
    Let’s face it, great season ahead!!
    Like him or loath him, LBJ you’re a star and when all is said and done, I’m sure you will be considered one of the top three of all time. We wouldn’t all be chatting about this year on year if he didn’t have it in him.

  6. Isaiah says:

    Lebron is on the verge of becoming the best player to ever do it! Hands down Lebron is an amazingly talented athlete, he deserves all the props he gets! I might be saying a lot about Lebron, but D Wade is still my favorite player! #TeamWade

  7. LJ says:

    as a heat fan looking forward to a great year, but also glad to see D Rose back, and Granger for the Pacers, also see what the knicks and nets bring to the table. But I am a laker fan also and lets just same I am really worried, because its not looking good. but the rest of the west looks exciting from the thunder spurs clippers rockets, and warriors, basket is going to be fun to watch this year.

  8. aaron davison says:

    Alright. He won 2 championships. And you say he got over whatever was holding him back? You mean him jumping ship and joining 2 other stars in the league. Jordan with role players could win it all. (Not saying Pippin was a role player)So that right there alone means no, he can not ever be as great as the great Jordan. Case closed.

  9. junejoseph says:

    All the HEAT needs is a legitimate blocker and a rebounder and threepeat is close to reality.

    I hope for a better and more aggresive BIRDMAN and a healthy ODEN and hope JOEL brings back his blocking skills.

    Every contender in the team have or added a legitimate bigman to try test the HEAT. I hope BIRD,ODEN and JOEL respond.

    • His Airness says:

      Joel responds when played. The heat are better with Joel, vs. Udonis on the floor. Before Birdman you could see the heat struggled when not playing Joel. Joel can’t provide much offense but he did provide what they needed.

      Luckily they got Birdman, who supplied both offense and interior presence. Bosh is an interior, lack of presence.
      Ditto Beasley. Beasley is subtraction by addition because the interior presence players will get less P.T. because Spo’ can’t see that dynamic.

  10. J says:

    if lbj doesn’t start to get injured and he doesn’t retire prematurely… twice! he will be the greatest of all time

    • His Airness says:

      Lebron is obviously not as good as Jordan, thus far in his career and half his career is over. If all of a sudden he get’s much better than Jordan this season, and it last for the rest of his career, they will probably be even. Of course what are the chances of that? He might win more championships, but you can see with your eyes MJ was better.
      Lebron vs Bird, Magic, Wilt, Kareem, Kobe, Shaq is a much better debate.

  11. OTIS DURRETT says:

    THE TEAM IN THE EAST THAT WILL GIVE MIAMI A CHALLENGE IS INDIANA. NOT THE BROOKLYN OLD NETS. THERE ARE SIMPLY TOOO OLD! SECONDLY, THE KNICKS DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH! AND CHICAGO HAS STILL NOT ADDED ANOTHER SCORER WITH DERRICK ROSE, SO THEY DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH EITHER! I THINK IT WILL COME DOWN TO MIAMI VS. INDIANA IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS. MIAMI WILL WIN AGAIN BUT I THINK THEY WIN 4 GAMES TO 2, BECAUSE WADE WILL BE HEALTHY THIS TIME!

    • anonymous says:

      ok i’m gunna throw some facts at you; last year, the knick’s average age was 30.7 and they fared pretty well in the playoffs. The net’s average age is 28.4.

  12. Karlo Garcia says:

    Wade is always a 1st option in my opinion. He is the true leader of the Miami Heat! James is 2nd.

    • His Airness says:

      Well Wade is definitely the better clutch player. Maybe should be first option late in game… but Lebron is the first option usually.

  13. heat3peat says:

    celentano…do u even watch basketball?go back to playing cricket….

  14. cry says:

    odens health will be crucial for teams with legitimate center,go heat!

  15. Sam Clark says:

    LeBron and Wade they are going to work as a team and finish the job and get another ring unless the Brooklen Nets get in their way cause that is going to be a great matchup but we got Michael Beasly and Greg Oden so we are good for now but when we get to the more competitive teams we are going to have hard games during the season and going to probily have game winning shoots for the other team so good luck Miami Heat

  16. Dwyanekyrie32 says:

    Looking forward to this season. Not just as a Heat Fan.. but for all of the NBA. Who Knows, we could see more Game 6 type games!!!

  17. celentano says:

    1. CHEAT!
    2.CHEAT!
    3.CHEATS!
    4,5,6,7… CHEATING!
    lol!

  18. celentano says:

    if it must be,than it is a 3-CHEAT for sure!!!

  19. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    3 finals appearances in 3 years .. 2nd longest winning streak in NBA history at 27 games … I see a 3PEAT !!!!!!!

  20. Hail to the king! very humble and motivated person..of course to his best bud d FLASH wade! :) good luck for this coming season!