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Dwyane Wade expects less hate next season

08.24.11 at 4:23 pm ET

For better or worse, a good portion of the NBA’s ratings boost last season came from viewers tuning in to root against the Heat. The haters got the last laugh in 2010-11 as Miami fell in the finals, but star shooting guard Dwyane Wade thinks the team won’t experience nearly as much ill will when the NBA gets back in action.

“It’s always going to be criticism,” Wade told USA Today. “There’s always going to be hatred. … It’s like the first time LeBron [James] went to Cleveland, it was this crazed thing. Then we went back again and it wasn’t the same. No matter what people say about the Miami Heat, it will not be the same as it was last year. There’s still going to be stuff out there, but not like the first time.”

Of course, Wade’s primary concern is whether or not the league will actually play games in 2011-12.

“I want to play the game of basketball,” he said. “I want to play in the NBA. This is where I want to be. … The guys who drive the NBA have to drive this lockout … and really make sure we don’t lose a lot of time for the sake of the NBA.”

Read More: Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Rumor Mill