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respect for our 2 DW's

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Toast of the town


The Heat's Dwyane Wade and the Marlins' Dontrelle Willis captivate South Florida with their humble play.




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One is a whirlwind in the lane, the other on the mound.


One fills the basket, the other the catcher's mitt.


One leaves opponents panting, the other whiffing.


Dwyane Wade and Dontrelle Willis are the hottest players in their sports. Both are perfect: Wade has led the Heat to an 8-0 sweep in the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs; Willis is 7-0 going into the Marlins' game against the Dodgers tonight.


D-Wade and D-Train, Miami's DWs. Dazzling Winners. Double Whammy.


South Florida is smitten. The rest of the country is envious.


We have rays, Js and Ks in abundance.


Boom times in the Magic City. Those distinctive silhouettes emerging along the skyline, growing larger with each game? Wade and Willis.


We're the location for the Miami Vice movie, CSI: Miami and the MTV Video Music Awards. But what about our own photogenic entertainers, one with the hang time of a helicopter and the other with the kick of a Rockette? Wade and Willis.


Athlete heroes who are luminous and loveable, huge and humble, graceful and gracious. How often does that happen?


In fact, how often can a metropolis claim to have two superstars electrifying fans of their respective games? There was New York Met Tom Seaver and Jet Joe Namath in 1969. Los Angeles Dodger Fernando Valenzuela and Laker Magic Johnson in 1981 and 1982. Chicago Bull Michael Jordan and Bear Walter Payton in 1985.


In 1997, Marlins pitcher Livan Hernandez bolted out to a blistering 9-0 record and the Marlins went on to win the World Series. The Heat's Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway combined for a 40-point scoring average to push their team to a 61-21 record. But the Heat lost in the Eastern Conference finals to Jordan's Bulls.


During these NBA playoffs, Wade has not only taken up the slack for the injured Shaquille O'Neal to help the Heat cruise into the conference finals, but he is leading the teams left in the playoffs with an average of 28.6 points per game. Add in his averages of 8.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds against 4.2 turnovers and you could argue he is the most dominant player in the playoffs.




Likewise, Willis leads Major League Baseball with a 1.08 ERA. His 7-0 record is best in the National League and tied with Jon Garland of the White Sox. Willis has struck out 40 batters and walked only 10.


Wade and Willis were born five days apart in January 1982. Both grew to be 6-4. Both have shown concrete improvement this season.


Wade is averaging eight more points than he did as a rookie. He has thrived under the wings of O'Neal and coach Stan Van Gundy. Wade's fakes, crossovers, twirls, levitations, gyrations, scoops, finger rolls and dunks require slow-motion replays to figure out what he just did. Washington's Gilbert Arenas dubbed Wade ''the tornado.'' Washington coach Eddie Jordan likened his performance to ``a remake of A Star is Born.''


Willis has found consistency, control and patience. He started 9-1 as a rookie, then faded to 10-11 last season. The knock on him was that hitters had deciphered his complex high-kicking, corkscrew delivery. But this year, he has blossomed under the tutelage of pitching coach Mark Wiley and veteran Al Leiter. He has refined his motion, increased his assortment and stopped trying to overpower opponents when he gets behind. He might not throw as hard as A.J. Burnett or have a curveball as deceptive as Josh Beckett's, yet ''he makes bats slow down,'' catcher Paul Lo Duca said.


''No matter how many runs you give him, it always seems to be enough,'' Damion Easley said after Willis' 2-1 win against the Astros last week.


''Usually when guys win five, six in a row, they are due for a loss,'' Lenny Harris said. ``Right now, Dontrelle refuses to lose. He keeps his team in the ball game.''


What else do Wade and Willis have in common? They both enriched their athletic imaginations in the back yard. Wade spent every spare moment playing one-on-one with Dwyane Sr. in the driveway of his Robbins, Ill., home. His father was a park league star who gave his son merciless critiques.


Willis used to play Strike Out with a tennis ball against his friends in the parking lot of the Alameda, Calif., apartment building where he was raised by his mother, an ironworker who was a welder of the Bay Bridge. He painted a red square on the wall, then created his crazy windup.




Both players have a clean-living, retro charm about them. The tattoo-less Wade tithes 10 percent of his income to the Blood, Water and the Spirit Ministry in Chicago. He's married to his childhood sweetheart. O'Neal nicknamed him Flash, but there's nothing flashy about him off the court. He's down-to-earth, approachable, soft-spoken. He was embarrassed to be named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People. Not his crowd at all.


Willis wears his cap askew and his socks knee-high. He has written his mom's name -- Joyce Harris -- under the bill of his cap and calls her almost daily. He lives at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood but doesn't gamble. He smiles and laughs easily, always stands up for locker room interviews. Even his salary -- near the league minimum at $378,000 -- is modest. Like Wade, he is quick to turn the spotlight on his teammates.


''We won, that's the bottom line,'' Willis said after his most recent victory. ``If we lose 3-2 and I go eight [innings], that's good for the stats, but that's a loss. These games right now are key. People put so much emphasis on September and August, but we have to play well now to get to those situations.''


D-Wade and D-Train, both just 23 years old. For South Florida, the future holds as much promise as a baited fishing hook cast into the ocean.


Miami herald




The best of the best finally they get the respect they deserve... :thumbup ...post your comments please...

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damn..no comments :confused


It's spelled DontrellE and Dwyane.

That could have been why there weren't any comments, since the names were plastered in the article and you didn't feel the need to spell the names correctly, they probably didn't take the thread seriously.


I chose Flash, because the Heat are in the Eastern Finals, and baseball has just begun - so it's hard to say Dontrelle has made a huge impact.

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