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Dwyane Wade’s Status In The NBA Imperiled By “Jaw Rule” 

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Published: May 22, 2012
By DAMON WRIGHT

MIAMI, FL -- What is being dubbed the “jaw rule” passed as fine print in the collective bargaining agreement that ended the 2011 lockout.  The National Basketball Players Association (“NBPA”) paid little attention to the proposed rule, and few understood Commissioner David Stern’s office’s reasons for including the jaw rule apart from possibly combating performance enhancing drugs (or “PEDS” ).

Now it seems that Stern was a shrewd negotiator, since the jaw rule should further Stern’s efforts to democratize the NBA and shift talent to smaller markets.  Miami has been the prime example of talent accumulating in large markets, thus eroding competitiveness.

Under the jaw rule, no player with a jaw larger than 18 cm – or roughly 7.09 inches – may compete for any NBA franchise.  The stated reason for the rule is to eliminate steroid or other PED users from the league since PEDs are known to cause facial abnormalities such as jaw growth.  But since Wade is the only player whose jaw approaches 18 cm, many believe he – and the Heat – is the real focus.

“Dwayne’s jaw has grown over the years, but only because he started chewing gum while he plays,” said Wade’s agent Stan Palatine.  “Chewing gum, maybe, should get you kicked out of class, but not kicked out of the NBA.”

Dwayne’s jaw has grown over the years, but only because he started chewing gum while he plays.

Miami Heat general manager Pat Riley was reflective.  “They passed a rule, and Dwyane’s jaw keeps getting bigger,” said Riley.  “What can we do but hope his jaw comes down [in size].”

Dr. Eugene V. Michaelson of Northeastern University stated that even in healthy individuals jaw growth continues into adulthood.  “When you look at Wade, it's hard not to think of Brando in The Godfather,” said Michaelson.  “But jaw growth can occur into an intact adult male's 30s.”

Wade’s half-sister, Rhea McClure, did not respond to multiple calls requesting comment.