Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Dwyane Wade has become one of the most beloved sports stars in South Florida history thanks to his superb play on the court and his work in the community. But some recent plays have some questioning whether Wade is a “dirty” player.
The discussion got, pardon the phrasing, kick started earlier this week when Wade threw out his leg after he was fouled by the Charlotte Bobcats’ Ramon Sessions. Wade ended up kicking Session in the groin and has been suspended for a game by the NBA for the move.
For his part, Wade tweeted Thursday, “I’m far from being a dirty player + my intent was never 2 kick Ramon Sessions. I just reacted to the contact that I got from him.”
Last year, Wade committed a hard foul on Kobe Bryant in the All-Star Game that would typically be viewed as just a hard foul. But, Wade’s foul broke Bryant’s nose and drew the ire of some players and NBA media members.
During last year’s championship run, Wade was hit with a flagrant foul on the Indiana Pacers’ Darren Collison after Wade hit him in the back with a forearm shiver during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals that would have made Ronnie Lott proud.
Wade has always played with reckless abandon on the court and his tenacity has helped earn him the superstar status he enjoys. But, some say his game has changed and that Wade has become a dirty player and a whiner.
“He has become one of the league’s most constant complainers. Wade has occasionally been guilty of not getting back on defense because he’s allowed himself to be delayed to complain about non-calls,” wrote ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst.
While Wade’s image in South Florida won’t change anytime soon, his body of work in recent years may be contributing to him earning the dirty player reputation. Whether the reputation sticks or not may go a long way in determining Wade’s legacy in the NBA.
Wade has always played his best with a chip on his shoulder and a little bit angry, but he’s never been the type of fouler of a Bill Laimbeer or Andrew Bynum against Jose Barea in 2011, which was truly a dirty play.