SAN ANTONIO — From time to time, Dwyane Wade will still extend his arms toward a referee in exasperation after not getting a foul call that he thought he earned.
He’s tried to do it less this season, for three reasons.
The Miami Heat guard has gotten criticized at times throughout his career over how often he complains about calls on the court, though when he saw it spilling into real life, he knew he had to make a change. The spark was when he saw one of his sons complaining to a referee during a youth-league game, a display that left Wade pointing the finger of blame at himself.
“I’m a role model for Zaire Wade and Zion Wade and Dahveon Morris,” Wade said, listing his two sons and the nephew he’s raising. “So I go to their games and I hate — I hate — to see them talking back to the ref. I hate it. It burns me up inside every time. I’m like, ‘Get back on defense.’ And then I look in the mirror and say, ‘Well, how can you tell him not to do something when you’re doing it?’ I look at that, and I think that’s helped me understand.”
Sunday is Game 5 of the NBA Finals. It’s also Father’s Day, a particularly special day for Wade. His long struggle for single custody of his children was well-chronicled, and the book he wrote that was released last year revolved largely around the relationships he has with the boys in his life.
The kids, he said, are growing up fast. His oldest son started AAU travel tournaments earlier this year. And while all three kids have different personalities, they’re each picking up certain tendencies from the man of the house.
So he’s simply trying to be the best he can, on the court and off. He only picked up four technicals during this regular season, way down from his career-worst 12 from two seasons ago.
“When have the things in your life, when you feel complete in your life, you just don’t stress about a lot of stuff,” Wade said. “A lot of stuff now, I’m not angry. But besides that, I’m a role model. ... I can’t tell my son to do something if I’m not leading by example. So I’m trying to be better at it.”
In the moment
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was locked in on Game 5 of the finals on Saturday, and apparently wasn’t all that enthused about taking questions on any other topic.
Or really, any topic.
He was asked eight questions in his postpractice news conference, according to the transcript provided by the NBA, and his average answer was just over 11 words. The final queries directed to Popovich were related to how some teams are preferring to field smaller, more athletic rosters.
“I only care about what’s going on right now in this series,” Popovich said. “I’m not concerned about trends in the NBA.”