And after watching Wade lead the United States past Greece this morning, that somebody is me.
Here's why. Last week, before the USA began its Olympic rampage, I called LeBron James and Kobe Bryant the best two players in the world. I said Chris Paul was third. As for Wade, I said he "might not be No. 4 (or) No. 5 in the world, but he's somewhere in the top 10." A reader blew me up for that, writing the following in Hate Mail:
You can't be serious. Dwyane Wade might not be the fourth or fifth best player the world? Have you been watching these games? He looks like he did in 2006, when he played the best basketball since Jordan and had the best NBA Finals ever. I want to know what else you want to see from the guy.
I blew up the reader, named Brian. But in hindsight, he was right.
Brian -- you were right.
Dwyane Wade is all the way back to his 2006 NBA Finals form, and that Dwyane Wade truly is one of the five best players in the world, maybe even one of the top two or three players in the world. Maybe the best. Not sure about that, but he's a lot closer to No. 1 than No. 10.
What Wade did to Greece was mesmerizing. The game was close until early in the second quarter when Wade took over at both ends of the court, deflecting passes and stripping dribblers and triggering fastbreaks and in the best basketball moment of these Olympics, doing nearly all of it at the same time -- knocking the ball away from Greece, tracking it down near the side boundary, jumping into the air to save it and then spotting Bryant streaking to the rim. As he flew out of bounds, Wade whipped the ball 35 feet to the rim for an easy dunk finish for Bryant.
My apologies, Dwyane Wade. And Brian. Wade has been the best player on the best international team since the 1996 U.S. Dream Team. Of course he's one of the best four or five players in the world.