Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade won his first championship at the age of 24, he was on top of the world. Since then, his life has been filled with incredible highs and lows; but everything fell into place Thursday night as he claimed his second world championship.
“You know, I’ve been through a lot,” Wade said after Game 5. “That 15-win season professionally hurt. Laughingstock of the league coming off a championship. But what I dealt with personally was indescribable in a sense.”
In the interim between championships, Wade became a father for a second time, won an Olympic gold medal, got divorced and then convinced LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join him as members of the Heat.
“What I dealt with personally was indescribable in a sense,” Wade said.
Wade’s divorce became especially problematic as it sparked a bitter custody feud. Even as Wade and the Heat were in the NBA Finals, he had to deal with his ex-wife’s problems. His ex was arrested and charged with abduction after she refused to let them go home for Father’s Day in Miami.
Wade chartered a jet and his children arrived in Miami early Sunday morning in time to spend the majority of the day with him. That night, he scored 25 points in Game 3 to help lead the Heat to a lead in the NBA Finals.
The man once known as “Slash” for his versatility on the court, had become so much more than a basketball player in just six short years.
“I have an unbelievable family, I have an unbelievable core, unbelievable support of friends and loved ones,” Wade said. “I’m blessed, I’m lucky to be put in the position I am. I’m going to enjoy this one a lot more than I enjoyed 2006. This is not guaranteed right here, man. You have to enjoy this, and we will do that.”
Wade also knew that it was time to turn the keys to the Heat over to LeBron James and to take a role as a secondary star to LeBron. It was a role Wade was ready to accept and when LeBron hugged the Larry O’Brien trophy Thursday night; Wade was the happiest man on the court.
“To be here, man, and see him get his first championship, I’m so happy for him,” Wade said. “I don’t know if I could be happy for another guy, another man to succeed in life as I am for him. I’m proud of him. He really took being the best player in the league to another level, and he did it all season long.”
During the presentation of the Larry O’Brien trophy to the Heat early Friday morning, Wade revealed what truly motivated the Heat to reach the top of the mountain once again.
“I think this team, we had so much pain, so much hurt, so much embarrassment from last season that it was nothing needed to be said,” Wade said. “From the first day, from Christmas day, we was on a mission, and that mission was not complete until tonight.”
For Wade the mission for this season may be complete, but for the man that has become Mr. Miami Heat, the journey is far from over.