Golden State Warriors swingman Dorell Wright spent his first six seasons in Miami learning the ropes from All-Star Dwyane Wade. Going straight to the pros out of South Kent Prep (Conn.), the 6-9, 205-pounder had to go through some growing pains before he finally arrived, but he wouldn’t trade it for the world. We caught up with him the other day to chat about his time with the Heat, learning from and playing against Wade, and proper protocol when you visit your old city or your teammates visit yours.
Dime: I know when you spend your first six years with a franchise, you grow up there. What do you miss most about Miami?
Dorell Wright: Man, just playing in a beautiful city and for a first-class organization. Being able to play for Pat Riley, one of the greatest of all time, a young coach in Erik Spoelstra, and Stan Van Gundy, it was fun. I played with at least five or six Hall of Famers, so I learned a lot. I learned not only how to carry myself as a young adult, but as a professional â€“ I think that’s key around this league.
When you grow up fast, you have to be a pro right away. I learned so much from those guys, and they did a great with me spawning my development; letting me wait my turn, really understanding the game, adding more things to my game instead of just being thrown out there like a lot of high school kids had to. I really applaud them for the things they did with me ’cause the things they taught me six years ago, I’m still doing today.
Dime: You’ve spoken before about what Dwyane Wade meant to your development in Miami. What’s it like playing against him now, and what has he meant to your career?
DW: Man, just going out there and being a competitor. I watched him for six years go out there each and every night â€“ hurt half the time â€“ just because of the style he plays. He goes to the basket, he gets contact and he hits the floor a lot. Any person that gets a commercial about falling, you know what type of guy they are â€“ hard-nosed, great big brother, he showed me the ropes. I just soaked up all the knowledge he taught me as far as going out there and being a competitor, bringing your hard hat each and every night and competing at the highest level.
Dime: Last year you had two huge games against Miami. Being that first year away from the team, did you have a little extra something to prove?
DW: It was just that I was going out there to compete. It was my old team, of course I was excited, but I just wanted to go out there and play good and play hard. I had the opportunity to make some open shots and get to the basket â€“ just an all-around game. It’s part of it when you play your old team, you’re just really excited.
Dime: Everyone seems to have different thoughts on the proper protocol when you visit your old city or your teammates visit yours. What are your thoughts on getting dinner â€“ either the night before the game or after the game â€“ with your former teammates?
DW: It’s always cool to do things like that, you just gotta make sure you keep it how it is. Outside the lines, you can be best friends in the world; but once you get in-between those lines, you get a dap now and we’re gonna go out here and battle for 48 minutes. Let the best team win. I don’t have a problem with guys wanting to hang with other guys. Pat Riley used to call that fraternizing. (laughs) Back in the day I think they used to take it a little too serious as far as hanging out and having a friendship with guys from other teams, but you still gotta respect the professionalism of them being the opponent and you going against them. It’s always cool to hang out with your old friends though.
Dime: What’s the biggest difference living wise between the Bay Area and Miami?
DW: It’s not 80 degrees every morning when I wake up. I love California being a California kid, so I don’t have a problem with it.
Dime: Did you drive a different type of car in Miami?
DW: Nah. Actually I drive all the same cars, but I’m getting rid of some because they’re a little too exotic to be here in California.
Dime: What are you getting rid of?
DW: My Bentley. That sticks out like a sore thumb out here. In Miami I blended in, so I’m gonna get rid of that.
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