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May 30, 2011

Dwyane Wade

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

DWYANE WADE: I'm not hurt. Get that one out of the way. Move on. (Laughter.)

Q. Dwyane, how much have you seen Dirk's game evolve since the last time you saw him in the series?
DWYANE WADE: I thought he was good then, now he's phenomenal. Obviously the shot-making ability is one of the best this league has seen. But I think what he's gotten better at is taking over games in the fourth quarter. And what's phenomenal is he's very efficient. You see a game with Dirk, he's 8-for-14. It seems like he's taking more shots or he's made a bigger impact. But he just makes big shots. So I think he's a smarter player. I think he's a hungrier player and even a more efficient player than in '06.

Q. You mentioned Dirk's ability to take over the fourth quarter. You guys really struggled with that in the regular season. The Mavericks have been really good at that in the playoffs. How instrumental would that be in the series?
DWYANE WADE: It will be very instrumental in this series. Obviously you have two good teams. It's a great matchup. A lot of games may come down to the execution at the end of ballgames. It came down to that late last series. We won those games in the fourth quarter, when it counted. We understand we got players and play-makers that can do that. They have a lot of them as well, with their ability to shoot the ball, with their ability to move the ball around. With their unselfishness.
If it come down to that, you have two teams that are primed for it, because we went through it all regular season. We went through our bumps and bruises and ups and downs. You kind of figure it out eventually.

Q. Dwyane, you started with a loss at Boston at beginning of the season. Now you mentioned the ups and downs, the bumps in the road. Now you're four wins away from the title. Speak about what you guys went through during the season and where you are now and the confidence you are playing with.
DWYANE WADE: We went through highs and lows, the ebb and flow of the season. Obviously ideally we would have loved to have come out and been at our best in Game 1. We wasn't. No excuses. We wasn't the team we are today. We understood it was going to take time. It took adversity for this team to become more of a unit, and not just good individual players. But to become a great team.
For us it starts on the defensive end. We win games defensively. Obviously we have offensive firepower and talent that can take over at certain moments. But it's our engine, our effort that's gotten us to this point that no matter what was going on throughout the year, we could always fall back on that. And that's been our staple.

Q. Dwyane, after the series, you had five years ago in that final, you were like the new next Jordan for a couple of weeks and everything. Now if you win this one, does your stature go up or do people say well, but this time you had LeBron and Bosh?
DWYANE WADE: I don't know. I don't know. I don't really get into that no more. Obviously, then, when you come in the league, they're always looking for the next someone. Whether it's the next Jordan, the next Kobe, the next LeBron. There's always the next someone. There's always going to be somebody they are going to put there next to those guys. It's flattering.
Only thing I can think about is winning. That's all I care about. Whatever you guys want to decide to put me or talk about me, that's where I'll be. The biggest thing is to be a champion. And I've been able to be blessed to have one. If I can ever be blessed to have more, then my career for myself would be complete. Because it's all about winning for me, and not necessarily the individual conversation. I would rather be in the conversation with the greats of how many championships they won than how many points they put on the board.

Q. You talked a lot this season just about the focus LeBron always brings, whether it's practice, pre-season game, whatever.

Q. Have you noticed in the last couple of weeks even maybe the last couple of days, have you noticed that further ratcheting up of that level of intensity he always has?
DWYANE WADE: Yes, obviously. He's talented, no question, but his attention to detail is phenomenal. His ability to understand what both teams are trying to do. But now he's focused. He's focused. Obviously we all want it. But in a different sense, he wants this -- he wants to seize this moment. And you can tell by the way he's been playing. Especially in late games. He hasn't left anything to chance, whether it's guarding other team's best player, whether it's taking big shots, doing anything it takes.
That's a player that I see that's hungry for a championship. Understandably, that he put himself in a position to be on a good team that compete for a championship. And now that it's here, I don't think it's never going to stop, that focus or that drive or that hunger for him to go out and play the way to get it.

Q. Wade, I had a chance recently to visit your mom's church in Chicago. How proud of you are what she's overcome? And second part, who has more energy, you on the court or her at the service?
DWYANE WADE: To answer the second one, she has way more energy than me. If you see her service, it's very high energy.
I'm very proud of my mother, obviously. Of overcoming the things that she did in life, the alcohol, the drugs, the streets. Becoming the woman she is today, to be able to save lives, in a sense is phenomenal. Nine years ago I didn't see that.
She's dedicated herself to her beliefs. She's dedicated herself to her new life. And I'm proud to be her son, as I've always been. I'm proud I can help her every step of the way.

Q. Dwyane, I recall during the '06 title run that Riley would try to motivate you by saying you can be the first of the class of '03 to win that title. How much over the years over time did Chris and LeBron, two other members of that class, talk to you about what that experience was like and how much did you hold it over their heads over the years that you were the first?
DWYANE WADE: I'm not the kind of person to hold things over people's heads. So I never did. I never held it over their heads. I understood, especially in LeBron's sense, that he would eventually get one one day. I just was blessed to be put in the position early on. I played with a very great player in Shaquille O'Neal and Hall of Fame players in Gary Payton. I was blessed to be put in that position. I didn't hold it over anyone's head. What was the second question?

Q. Generally how much they talked to you about what the experience was like.
DWYANE WADE: We discussed it. We don't like to live in it too much. Obviously LeBron has been to the Finals before. But I've won in The Finals before. I talk about how hard it was to do. But how gratifying and how satisfied you felt once you put it all out there and you gave it your all. And at the end of the day when you were crowned the champion. Those guys, LeBron and Chris, have won on different levels. My NBA Championship was the first level I ever won on. Those guys -- I think LeBron has won three high school championships. All the AAU championships. So growing up, they are used to winning. I was always used to going to the Final Four and not making it to the Finals.
So I finally had my chance. So just talking about how much it meant and what it would mean for your career at the end of the day.

Q. Coach Spo said not only was everybody at practice today but it was so full contact he had to stop it a little bit, get you guys to calm down. You were one of the guys who didn't do full contact yesterday. Were you mixing it up as much as anybody else?
DWYANE WADE: It was great energy-wise. It was The Finals. You can tell. It's the day before. Everyone is giddy, excited. But also trying to do what we can to do our job, and trying to get prepared for the Dallas Mavericks. So needless to say, this is one of the most anticipated practices for all of us since training camp, probably, when you look into that first practice. Because this is the opportunity -- this is a time where not a lot of people on our team has been. Not a lot of guys have been to The Finals, besides the four of us. So we're always looking forward to coming in and preparing and getting ready for the first game tomorrow.
Yes, I was mixing it up.

Q. Dwyane, two guys on the other side, Shawn and Caron, you have a relationship with, at one time either was part of the big 2 in Miami. Can you talk about your relationship with them? If you have spoke to them game?
DWYANE WADE: Shawn is my neighbor in Chicago. We live in the same community. I bought the house because I saw his house and liked the neighborhood. We have a relationship in that I will see him this summer. And Caron obviously, we're very good friends. I'm a godfather to his daughter. We talk often. So just for him being here, obviously he's not playing. But for him to be in this moment, I congratulated him. And he congratulated me as well. That's where the bus stops. It's over. We'll see each other this summer.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Dwyane.
DWYANE WADE: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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