How Dwyane Wade Went from Being Batman to Being Alfred for the Miami Heat

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IINovember 21, 2012

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 15:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat in his street clothes and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat observe the national anthem prior to facing the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on November 15, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. Wade did not play in the game. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Whether it's Gotham City or South Beach, we all know that there can only be one Batman. That's just a fact of life.

In Gotham City, Batman never had to compete with anyone else for his job because no one ever tried to take it from him. I mean who would want that level of responsibility?

For quite some time, Dwyane Wade was the Miami Heat's "Batman."

He came into the NBA out of Marquette, and while he didn't "save" the Heat's franchise, he certainly helped take them to the next level.

\Since joining the Heat for the 2003-04 season, Wade helped them reach the playoffs in all but one of the past nine seasons, and he's done so in impressive fashion.

From winning the scoring title in 2009, to leading the Heat to the 2006 NBA title while winning the 2006 NBA Finals MVP award, Wade's career in Miami has been one filled with accolades and accomplishments.

Up until the 2010-11 season, South Beach and the Miami Heat were defined by Wade's leadership and productive play on the court. That all changed the moment LeBron James uttered the following words:

"This fall, I'm going to take my talents to South Beach."

Usually, the end of a superhero's reign comes at the ends of a villain. While some fans may've seen LeBron's arrival in Miami as just that, in reality, it was just the dawning of a transition.

A transition for Wade from being Batman to being Alfred—Batman's true partner in crime.

There's no doubt that LeBron has taken over the role of Batman in South Beach. With Wade on the bench, and LeBron in the lineup during the past two seasons, the Heat are 16-1—3-0 this season alone.

That doesn't mean that Wade isn't as good of a player as he once was. It simply means the Heat don't need him to be the guy anymore. They don't even need him to be their second option behind LeBron.

As we saw last season and are beginning to see once again this year, LeBron is the Heat's main man and Chris Bosh is quickly becoming their second option. That's not because Wade can't do it, it's instead because the Heat need a big man to play productively more than they need another backcourt player to step up.

Just look at Wade and Bosh's production this season alone:

Chris Bosh—19.6 PPG, 55.2 FG%, 7.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 BLKPG, 24.92 PER

Dwyane Wade—16.9 PPG, 47.0 FG%, 4.9 APG, 4.1 RPG, 19.6 PER

Because of Wade's health issues, it's clear that the Heat have moved on to using Bosh as their second option behind LeBron. That's worked out rather well for the Heat.

What that doesn't mean though is that Wade's role isn't important for the team's success.

Batman wouldn't be Batman without someone behind the scenes doing all the dirty work, and that person is none other than Alfred.

Alfred always advised Batman in the appropriate course of action. He helped him prepare for the tasks ahead of him, and most importantly he was Batman's confidant and guide during difficult times. 

That's exactly who Wade is for the Heat, and ultimately for LeBron. 

The Heat aren't successful with Wade on the bench because he holds them back while he's in the game. They are successful because Wade still has an impact on the game with his attitude, guidance and experience.

Not being Batman isn't a bad thing for Wade. It's just who the Heat need him to be if they are going to repeat as NBA champions this year and establish the next great dynasty in the NBA.

Everyone can't be Batman, and Wade has not only realized that, he's also transitioned into being exactly what the Heat need him to be—a leader in the locker room, on the court or on the bench.

In a lot of ways, Wade is the emotional glue that holds the Heat together. It takes a special player to be that kind of player because it isn't the most glamorous or glorious position.

LeBron couldn't do it, because if he could he wouldn't have had to leave Cleveland to get his first ring.

Wade's transition from Batman to Alfred shows just how special of a player he truly is.