All of this started with Micky Arison, the franchise owner, and his checkbook, his willingness to put his money where his dream was.
All of this started with Pat Riley, the club president and builder, and his vision, his audacity to conceive this blueprint and then go get it.
All of this started with LeBron James, the incomparable player, and his sublime excellence, then his decision to take it to South Beach.
This, in many ways, is the Heats real Big 3: The moneyman, the architect and the singular talent. You could argue that these are the three most indispensable men in the grand plan that has fashioned two championship parades in a row so far.
And you would be right, to a point.
Except there was a fourth man without whom none of this would have happened.
Working the deal
Not Arisons riches nor Rileys recruiting would have landed LeBron if not for the willingness and sacrifice of Dwyane Wade.
His mind-set, around this time in 2010, was the seed from which all this grew a fact worth celebrating right along with the championship parades that Wade, in effect, allowed to happen.
He could have blown up all of this before it ever materialized, if he let his ego get in the way, if his main consideration was himself, not the greater good.
If I was selfish, then this team would never have been assembled, Wade admits. Then, with this team assembled, if I was selfish, it never would have worked.
It worked famously because Wade was able to see that championship rings and parades were more important than his own status as the unequivocal face of the franchise. He understood that James was the one player in the NBA who was an in-his-prime megastar, a bigger national star than Wade himself.
Wade had been the 2006 Finals MVP. He had won a league scoring title. He had made All-NBA first teams. He had established himself individually in a certain Hall of Fame career to a degree that proved his talent, his brand. Had he not, perhaps his welcoming LeBron would not have been as easy not that it was easy.
It took Wade that first year to get to the point of acknowledging the new hierarchy, of adjusting to it. Once he did, and stepped aside so LeBron could step forward, the championships started coming.
Magic Johnson, in town with the ABC broadcast crew for the Finals, last week called Wade the most unselfish superstar Ive ever seen in my life, adding, No superstar would do what Dwyane did.
Riley has said the same.
Wades personal friendship with LeBron that predated their becoming teammates made Wades sacrifice easier. So did the fact Dwyane knew LeBron was all about winning championships, too.
When James said the night of Finals Game 7, Coming through for my teammates and not letting them down makes me more satisfied than anything in the world that was the LeBron that Wade had known all along.
At some point great players understand that championships ultimately distinguish them more than individual statistics.
Thats why Wade began his postgame news conference on that champagne-kissed night by jokingly saying he wanted to be referred to from now on not as Dwyane, but as Three not for his uniform number, but for the number of his NBA championships.