The first of those apologies, Wade said, came during the game when he saw Bryant's face had been bloodied. Wade also said he sent the Lakers' star a message after the game in Orlando on Sunday night.
Wade said critics who questioned why he never offered an apology for the play — the likes of which seemed to be something not typical in an All-Star game setting — simply made incorrect assumptions.
“I don't care what I'm portrayed as,” Wade said after Miami's first practice following the league's All-Star break. “It's unfortunate, obviously. I don't want to ever hurt anybody in this game, especially on a freak play like that. It's unfortunate. I send my apologies. But it's not intentional. If it's something I did intentionally, it'd be a different story.”
A week ago, the Heat could make jokes about how they were out of the NBA spotlight, bumped by the meteoric rise of Jeremy Lin in New York.
Now it's a different story.
Two plays seem to be generating the most attention from the All-Star game — Wade's hard foul against Bryant and LeBron James’ ill-advised pass at the end of what became a three-point loss for the Eastern Conference.
The Heat enter the second half of the season tied with Oklahoma City for the league's best record at 27-7. Miami starts a three-game road trip this Thursday night in Portland, followed by a game at Utah — and then, in a nationally televised game that probably now got a whole lot more interesting, at the Lakers on Sunday afternoon.
Bryant stayed in after the Wade hit and the Lakers said Tuesday that he also got a concussion in the All-Star Game. Bryant is listed as day-to-day by the Lakers, who were scheduled to host Minnesota Wednesday night.
“D-Wade didn't, at all, go for a hard foul,” James said. “He went to wrap his arms up and accidentally hit him in the nose. … He meant to foul him but he didn't mean to hard-foul him like that.”
Wade acknowledged that he did try to foul Bryant and said he did so to stop the clock so he could approach a nearby referee to complain about fouls that he felt were committed against him and went uncalled.
“Hey, what do you want?” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. “It was all about the game. It came down to the last possession. It was all for the fans. That's what they want. You get competitors out there, it may go a certain particular way for a limited amount a time, but after a while guys, they're really going to get after it. And those make the best games. That's what people want to see.”
Wade apparently was ready to put the All-Star game behind him and said he was done discussing the issue after Tuesday. However, it's almost certain to come up again when the Heat head out to face Bryant and the Lakers over the weekend.
“When I saw the blood in his nose, I was like, ‘Obviously, I wasn't trying to do that, man,’” Wade said. “I don't know if anybody wants me to get down on my knees in front of the world and do it. I don't have to do that. … I send my apologies to Kobe and I move on from it.”
Photo: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
INTENSE RIVALRY: Eastern Conference's Dwyane Wade (3), of the Miami Heat, looks to pass as Western Conference's Kobe Bryant (24), of the Los Angeles Lakers, defends during the second half of the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday in Orlando.