Shaquille O'Neal has averaged at least 20 points and 10 boards in 13 straight seasons -- one year more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Record: 59-23 (1st in East) Points scored: 59-23 (1st in East) Points allowed: 95.0 (8th) Coach: Stan Van Gundy (third season with the Heat)
Healed and remodeled, a shooting star will hit the court running
There are some surefire signs that you've arrived among the NBA's elite: You make the All-Star team, you crack the top 10 in scoring, you pull a Willis Reed and put on an amazing playoff performance while injured, and you accept an offer from Diddy to make you the "NBA's first male supermodel." All those things happened to guard Dwyane Wade last season -- his second in the league. When it ended, though, Wade had a bad taste in his mouth and a searing pain in his abdomen. He pulled a muscle executing a crossover dribble in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Detroit and, after sitting out Game 6, needed two cortisone injections to play in Game 7. "I keep asking myself what happened," says Wade. "Maybe my body wore down, or maybe God was testing me."
To steel himself for any challenges the league or the Almighty might have in store, Wade spent the off-season bulking up in his hometown of Chicago with strength coach Tim Grover. The 6'4" Wade added five pounds and now weighs 217. At the Heat's training camp, his physique caught a few eyes. "Oh, Lord, he's muscled up," said backup guard Dorell Wright.
Over the summer the Heat acquired point guards Jason Williams and Gary Payton, so Wade will function almost exclusively as a shooting guard. "I'll have the opportunity to get out on the wing and run some like I used to," says Wade, who, in addition to his off-season work for Diddy, made the scene at the MTV Video Music Awards and won an ESPY. "I've been everywhere," he says, "so hopefully people aren't tired of me yet." The people guarding him might be. -- Mark Bechtel