Dwyane Wade is changing his narrative

Jan 3, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) stands on the court against the Washington Wizards in the first quarter at Verizon Center. The Heat won 97-75. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) stands on the court against the Washington Wizards in the first quarter at Verizon Center. The Heat won 97-75. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Dwyane Wade has been with the Miami Heat since 2003. He has never played with another team. Or ever really expressed any desire to. And yet, to this day, a handful of Heat Nation still does not trust him.

The overall No. 5 pick in the NBA draft, Wade had a strong rookie season: he averaged 16.2 points (on 46.5 percent shooting), 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Then basketball great Shaquille O’Neal joined Wade on his journey in South Beach. It obviously benefited the young buck to have such a skilled veteran by his side, but many forget how much Wade accomplished on his own. And to what lengths he went to fight for his team.

Say, for example, when he was fighting sinusitis, the flu and a strained knee and still managed to score 78 points combined in two games of the 2005 Eastern Conference finals.

More from All U Can Heat

The now 33-year-old guard was always highly respected. His talent was undeniable, and no one spoke of the top dogs without including him in the conversation. However, it seems as though fans have never fully trusted him.

In 2006, Wade missed 31 games due to injury. While some were just upset that this was happening to one of their players, other questioned whether his body was really built for the game. Or worse, if he simply needed to toughen up.

Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. But remember, after he dislocated his shoulder in early 2007, he decided to forego surgery as it would be season-ending. Instead, he opted to wear a shoulder sleeve and repair the issue during the offseason.

2010 was another year that caused fans to doubt the face of their franchise.

First, they worried that Wade would not re-sign with the team. But the bulk of the negativity came after he announced his return, once he helped bring aboard James and Chris Bosh.

The Big Three turned many people across the league against Miami. And while James was cast as the greatest villain of all, some referred to Wade as the ring leader behind the operation; this caused fans to wonder how seriously Wade took the team.

Their first year together did not go exactly as planned. However, Wade, James and Bosh did end up winning back-to-back championships.

More from Heat News

Then James left, and the “will Wade leave too?” chatter began.

He did not. Instead he rallied to bring his team back to life, after they not only tried to adjust to losing James, but also fell victims to never-ending injuries.

Wade did give the organization a scare this past summer, after taking some time to re-sign. However, it seemed as though his hesitation came from a place of wanting to make sure he was given the credit he deserved. And ironically enough, it could be argued that his fear came from the mindset of those very Heat fans who were still questioning him. Yes he was 33, and had dealt with more injuries than the average professional athlete. But Wade knew there was still gas left in his tank. And he knew that if he re-commited to Miami, he would give them all he had. Even if not all of Heat Nation did.

Recently, Wade was asked about needing to “change the narrative about his body and his injuries.”

"“It’s always a question. But no one wants it more than me, at the end of the day. I told Pat [Riley] the same thing. I love playing the game, and I love being healthy playing the game. Last year, I was disappointed I had two hamstring injuries that kind of took me out of a portion of the 20 games I missed because I thought I was making the strides. But this year, I switched a few things up and I’m more about my body and it feels great.”"

The superstar’s commitment to both the game and the Heat, have never faltered. The fact that he is currently averaging 18.5 points, 4.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds per 30 minutes of play a game, is not an accident.

More heat: Miami Heat face a tough January

Recently, Wade parted ways with his trainer, in order to make sure his body was in tip top shape for the remainder of his career.

"“It was very tough. But at the end of the day, I have to make a lot of tough decisions because it’s my life, right? Tim is great. Obviously, he wanted to continue to work with me, but he also saw I wanted to go in this direction. It wasn’t easy to have that conversation because he’s been in my life since my rookie year. But this is what I needed to do. I needed something a little different. Coming off the last couple of years, my body needed a different focus.”"

And so far, so good.