For the first time in four years, Dwyane Wade won't be in the NBA Finals. But that doesn't mean you won't be seeing him plenty during ESPN or ABC broadcasts. The network has made the sort of odd but increasingly common decision of bringing in an active player as an analyst for the series.
Wade will provide commentary during the pre-game and halftime shows for games two and three, and for games six and seven should the series go that long. With the network publicly announcing that they weren't renewing their contract with Bill Simmons, they apparently had some room at the NBA Countdown panelist table to fill out on rather short notice. Wade will join Sage Steele and analysts Doug Collins and Jalen Rose.
As a player in five NBA Finals and a former Finals MVP, Wade will certainly be able to bring some fresh perspective to the show. His relationship with LeBron will certainly be useful, and apparently ESPN is definitely trying to max that out. The Miami Herald reports that ESPN is even trying to set up an interview between the former teammates.
Once uncommon, broadcasters are increasingly bringing in active coaches and players to commentate on big games. That might have seemed unorthodox a few years ago, but in the age of Twitter, when anyone, including players, can and often do offer their two cents on a game, it only makes sense.
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The addition could also be seen as a try-out for a post-NBA career for the charismatic Wade. He told the Associated Press last year that he would consider a career in television if the situation was right.
As an added bonus, the gig will also give Wade a chance to bring his A-game to the men's fashion spectacular that has become the NBA Finals media coverage. We know how important that is to him.
Interestingly, the news comes as Wade's current NBA career is in question as discussion over his future with the Miami Heat seems to be at an impasse.