Flowers for Father Prime: The Rise and Fall of Dwyane Wade

From the Diary of Jay Sabol, Head Athletic Trainer, Miami Heat

March 22

I admit, I was skeptical when Pat [Riley] and Micky [Arison] came to me with this stuff they said was water from the Fountain of Youth. Pat told me it was going to revitalize Dwyane [Wade]’s career, and he’d told the media that he thought Dwyane could play until he’s 40. Saw that in the Sun-Sentinel this morning and thought Pat was out of his mind, and that our owner had spent too much time in the sun.

Still, the boss tells you to use the special water to mix up a guy’s protein shake, you do what you can for a paycheck. It’s that or watch Dwyane turn into Kobe between now and the playoffs.

April 1

My God, the stuff might actually be working. Dwyane had 30 on Monday and 26 last night. Against the Nets and Lakers, sure, and he still hasn’t made a three since December, but he’s got a little something extra. Erik [Spoelstra] decided to rest him the next couple of games, but there might be something to this. Maybe we can give some to [Chris] Bosh, see if his blood might stop being lumpy oatmeal.

April 3

Man, we got our asses kicked in Portland last night. Pat said he wanted to up the dose, get Dwyane to stop resting and start contributing. Way things are going, there might be a four-way tie for this damned three seed.

April 9

I wonder if there might be too much of a good thing. Dwyane’s looking stronger than ever, yeah, like it’s 2006 out there, but he went 7 for 19 last night, and we lost to the Magic. I mean, I thought Dwyane was gonna turn into Kobe, but I didn’t think it was gonna be like this.

We’ve kept him in the dark about the experiment. I’m starting to wonder if that’s such a smart idea. Dwyane doesn’t know his own strength. He’s been telling the media he feels good, that he doesn’t feel like he’s 34, but if he keeps jacking up bad shots and trying to get fouled, he’s gonna kill himself.

April 14

What the hell was that in Boston last night? I mean, we got the three seed, great, but only because the Hawks choked and handed it to us. Dwyane was -21 and we haven’t solved that shooting overconfidence problem. I had to tell him what was up.

Dwyane flipped out on me. Told me I was crazy, told me he was gonna get nailed the next time the league gave him a piss test, even gave me the “how could you lie to me, man?” I had to explain to him this was top-secret stuff. Pat and Micky’s orders. Reminded him that we need all the help we can get if we’re gonna beat LeBron.

Swore him to secrecy, told him the brass would have our asses if they ever found out. But dammit, the playoffs are coming, and he’s going to shoot us out of the game. I don’t think Erik knows, either.

God save us.

April 21

The media loves the Father Prime thing. Dwyane went for 28 last night. He’s playing better defense, too. Went +28 in Game 1.

I wonder about this stuff, though. I mean, everything else you give a guy, creatine, vitamins, even roids, guys plateau, y’know? Plus, you know that movie about the guy that gets smarter when they do experiments on him? Can’t remember how that movie ended. Maybe I’ll find it on Netflix or something after the playoffs are done.

April 26

OK, just keep telling yourself the games were on the road, Jay. The games were on the road. Media’s gonna blame me if Dwyane falls apart, and he knows too much. Did anyone actually check to see if this Fountain of Youth stuff shows up on drug tests?

No. No. NononononoNO. Stop. Worrying. Road games. Road games, road games, road games.

April 30

He made a three? Dwyane made a three! Two of ’em! 23 points, he even blocked three shots. Fountain of Youth, baby! I knew it all along.

Aren’t these things supposed to be smoother than this? Doesn’t matter. Dwyane keeps doing this, someone’s gonna win a goddamn Nobel Prize.

May 2

Won by 33 last night. On to the second round. I wish I could say I’m celebrating right now, but Pat came into my office this morning, looked like someone told him his dog died.

I asked him what was wrong and he said something about how they’d tested this stuff on a lab rat, called the rat Algernon. Algernon ran through mazes faster than ever before, he was stronger, better, but something happened.

That damned rat was now listless and weak. He could still go through the maze just fine, but his little rat legs just didn’t want to carry him. It’s like he aged a year in a day.

I don’t know how long Dwyane’s gonna last. I hope this was just an animal getting old, but the last time I saw Pat look like this, it was the day before LeBron left for Cleveland.

May 10

I think Pat was crazy. Dwyane went for 38 in Game 3. Made four three-pointers! He hasn’t done that in a year and a half. Scored 30 in Game 4. Media’s talking about whether we can beat the Cavaliers. Everyone’s talking about revenge on LeBron. So what if we lost Hassan [Whiteside]? They lost their big guy too. We’re gonna party like it’s 2006 in here.

May 12

Dwyane went 6-for-14. Pat just looked at me after the game, nodded his head, like the way you look at a friend whose wife just left him. I still believe, but that spooked me.

May 14

I know it’s over. Deep in my heart, I know it’s over. Dwyane was 8-for-21. Yeah, we won, but he couldn’t shoot out there. The defense is getting to him, and all I can think about is that damned rat. I’m not gonna tell Dwyane. I don’t want to get blamed if it kills his confidence in Game 7. That’s Erik’s job, not mine.

I wonder if the fish will be biting this summer. I wonder if Dwyane is gonna be any good next year. Thank God the media will just blame this on losing Hassan. Because we’re going back to Toronto, and we can talk all night about how we’re prepared and strong and all that crap you tell the guys with the microphones, but I know. Pat knows. I think even Dwyane knows.

May 16



Fox Doucette is a writer with a surprisingly high level of access to NBA trainers’ diaries. You should follow him on Twitter.