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We guess “Chuck” is temporarily out of Wade’s Fave 5.

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During an ESPN interview with Rachel Nichols, Dwyane Wade came to the defense of his new teammate LeBron James when asked about all the criticism James was receiving for leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. Barkley has been outspoken in stating LeBron should have stayed in Cleveland and not take the easy way out by joining Wade’s team.

Wade told Nichols that Barkley needed to “look in the mirror” noting that Sir Charles left the Pheonix Suns to join “Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler in Houston. Actually, Clyde Drexler retired after winning the championship with Olajuwon in 1995 and Scottie Pippen joined Houston during the ’98-’99 season two years after Barkley arrived, but we get it…sort of.

Barkley, the MVP of the league in 1993, also led the Suns to Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals, a game and series they could have won against Michael Jordan’s Bulls if Dan Majerle wasn’t throwing up three pointers from 30 feet out opening the door for John Paxson’s series clinching three point shot.

Wade also went on to say that all the great teams in the history of the league had more than one superstar citing Michael Jordan’s Bulls, Magic Johnson’s Lakers and Larry Bird’s Celtics teams. The difference between those teams and this current assembly in Miami is that those teams were built through the draft. Scottie Pippen was drafted by the former Seattle Supersonics and traded to Chicago in 1987 before he played an NBA game. Kareem Abdul Jabbar was already on the the Los Angeles Lakers when they drafted Earvin “Magic” Johnson in 1979 and James Worthy in 1982. Larry Bird and Kevin McHale were drafted by the Boston Celtics a year apart in ’79 and ’80 respectively. Robert Parish was also traded to Boston in 1980. None of the aforementioned players established themselves as the one of the top players in the league and then left the team that drafted them to play with another superstar.

Wade would have made his point if he would have referenced the current “Big 3” in Boston of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Garnett and Allen were superstars on other teams who decided to come together with Pierce to win the championship that eluded them to that point. They succeeded in 2008. Wade has already proven he could lead a team to a title when he took over the 2006 NBA Finals from the second half of Game 3 against the Dallas Mavericks. He had Shaquille O’Neal, but it was all Wade in that series.

Wade has to understand that leadership is what these veterans expected from LeBron James. For him to not only leave Cleveland but go to a team that has an established superstar to win a ring looks like an easy out and not someone worthy of claiming to be the best.

Although it is admirable that Wade is coming to the defense of his new teammate, he needs to get his facts straight. LeBron, a student of the game had to know Wade had his time tables messed up when talking about who Barkley went to play with in Houston. The irony in all of this, I believe Wade would not have done what LeBron did and he will never have to face this sort of backlash.

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