I know, as the statheads out there will surely point out, that every basket is equally important. Nor would I want to dispute that. But basketball is a game where the willingness to shoot when the pressure is on -- dare I say "in the clutch"? -- is important in ways that can't really be quantified in a box score.
I've watched countless basketball games where, as the game winds down, players freeze up. Someone has to be willing to take shots in those situations. Even if they aren't high-percentage ones, there's always the chance of getting fouled, especially in traffic. This is one reason why basketball doesn't work the way baseball does from a statistical standpoint. Jordan was famous for taking and frequently making those sorts of shots. Of the NBA's younger stars, Wade, Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony have already developed reputations for doing the same.
Because Wade is on the best team of those three by far, he gets an unfair advantage in comparisons between them. James is probably a better all-around player, though not by a huge margin. And Anthony, who trails the other two in most respects, may be better than he seems. Having said that, though, it's hard not to sit back and marvel at how well Wade is playing right now.
Tonight's circus shot, which happened, not because of an ill-advised desire to show off, but because Wade was nearly upended by a hard foul on his drive to the hoop, was so spectacular that the network television cameras missed it the first time. The lead cameraman clearly didn't anticipate anyone making that shot. Luckily, though, it was captured from other angles. This still-camera shot missed the hoop as well, but it does a great job of showing how remarkable the play was:I've seen some amazing shots over the years, but this one has to rank near the top of the list. The body control Wade displayed was phenomenal. It's one thing to do what MJ did on the famous switching-hands-in-midair drive against Magic's Lakers. It's another to make a similarly acrobatic play after a collison that seems destined to send you tumbling down onto your head. Besides, I like this shot because it's a superhuman version of my signature move, when I cut across the lane and spin the ball off the backboard with table-tennis English while floating over the baseline.