Dwyane Wade participates in his share of charitable golf tournaments, so the Miami Heat guard is not a complete stranger to fairways and greens. But from the sound of it, Wade's understanding of the game has a ways to go before he can become a scratch golfer.
In an interview with ESPN Chicago, Wade proved he is sane by saying he believes Michael Jordan is still greater than LeBron James, and questions whether his Heat teammate will ever surpass His Airness. Wade makes his assertion with an awkwardly worded analogy, however, that makes it sound like Wade is not entirely clear on how golf works.
"My version as LeBron being on par with Michael is this: They're both on the golf course," Wade is quoted as saying. "Michael's on the 18th hole. LeBron is somewhere on like the fourth hole. He's got a long way to go, but he's on par to get to the 18th hole."
As best we can tell, Wade means that James and Jordan are both at par, but Jordan is finishing off the last hole and James has yet to even make the turn — the implication being that James eventually will finish the round and may catch up to Jordan.
That makes a little sense, except it doesn't. For one thing, neither Jordan nor James is merely even-par. Jordan finished his round in 2003 at something like 20-under, to use Wade's analogy, and James would have at least three birdies and an eagle through four. Second, what does "on par to get to the 18th hole" mean? There is no stroke limit to advance from one hole to the next, Dwyane. A golfer can keep hacking away even when he is 40 strokes over par — otherwise 80 percent of the world's golfers would never make it past the sixth hole.
Finally, Wade premised his remarks by saying he did not know if James would ever catch up to Jordan, which again makes the golfing analogy weird. If catching up to Jordan is only a matter of getting to the 18th hole, why would James not make it to the last hole? Will his fiancée call him on the 16th tee and tell him he needs to cut out early so they can go look at drapes?
In fairness, Wade was not giving a dissertation filled with footnotes and citations. He was at a promotional event in Chicago and merely answered a question. But it is July, and now that James finally won a championship to join Jordan as the only players to win an NBA title, league MVP and an Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year, the comparisons between the two greats are inevitable. The only reason Wade's comment is worth analyzing is that the substance of Wade's position — that Jordan is still the greatest, even in the eyes of James' contemporaries — seems interesting. It would be nice to know exactly why Wade feels that way, and not need to parse words.
As far as we can tell, Dwyane, we agree with you. We think.