Dwyane Wade considers it the ultimate freedom of mind and body.
Back in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive season and fifth time overall, Wade's mind is no longer cluttered with the frustrations, anxieties and fears of his body failing him again.
And considering where the Miami Heat guard stood in the Finals this time a year ago -- dragging one deteriorating knee through multiple bone bruises and another that swelled to the size of a grapefruit -- his body is no longer sending painful reminders that it's time to give in.
Wade doesn't consider himself overly superstitious. But he's approached questions about his relatively good health these days following a maintenance and rehab program that forced him to miss 28 games in the regular season the way one would a black cat who crosses his path.
He tends to stop, shift direction and steer the conversation along an alternate course.
But this newfound level of freedom feels different.
"That's huge for me at this point," Wade told ESPN.com. "Obviously, it doesn't guarantee that you're going to play better the rest of the way. But just having a clear mind ... when you play this game, this game is just as much mental as it is physical. It's probably more mental than physical. So when you can go in with a clear mind mentally, feeling good up here [points to head], and you're obviously feeling good physically, then you know you're capable of doing whatever your talents can bring."
Wade's primary focus for now is to do his part alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh to bring the Heat a third consecutive NBA title, which would make Miami the first team to accomplish the feat since the Shaq-and-Kobe Los Angeles Lakers did so a dozen years ago.
But later this month, with Wade, James and Bosh all holding options to void the final two years on their contracts by June 30 to enter free agency, a deeper level of inventory could take place among the trio -- particularly the elder statesman of the Heat's Big Three.
Four years ago, in the summer of 2010, Wade was the anchor of the boldest and most expensive free-agency overhaul in NBA history when he sacrificed potential salary and successfully recruited James and Bosh to Miami. Now, at age 32 and having endured two seasons of knee problems, there is a notion that Wade's contract could be more of a hindrance than a help if the Heat plan to retool around their core in the next couple of seasons to extend their historic run.
Drafted fifth overall in 2003 by Miami and having evolved into the most accomplished player in franchise history, Wade is the epicenter of a legendary Heat team. But the combination of his age and injury history at the cost of $42 million remaining on his deal makes him a questionable bet moving forward -- even for a team with a deep record of loyalty and lifelong commitment.
Regardless of the outcome of the series, assuming he gets through the Finals healthy and at his standard rate of productivity, Wade presents a tough conundrum for Miami entering the summer.
Will the Heat's potential salary-cap flexibility be handcuffed by the declining superstar who missed more than a third of the season, with many of the absences forcing coach Erik Spoelstra to scramble through 21 different lineups en route to the team's worst record since 2009?