This NBA offseason has been filled with ample excitement. Blockbuster trades have occurred, new “Big 3’s” have been formed, and old teammates have reunited. While the season’s outcomes are largely unpredictable, one thing is for sure: LeBron James is happy to have Dwyane Wade back on the court with him.
LeBron and Wade have been longtime friends, dating back to their first interaction at the 2003 pre-draft combine at which the two started talking while waiting to be examined by a doctor.
Wade referred to the moment in an interview with the NBA.
“I was in there waiting on the doctors to come in to see me for about an hour. He walked right in and they seen[sic]him. We kind of kicked it off from there. It’s just something that happened – there’s no way to really explain it.” That single interaction has stemmed one of the greatest duos in basketball history as well as a lifelong friendship.
The duos on court success started immediately when James became a member of the Miami Heat for the 2010-2011 NBA season. That year, the two dominantly marched their way past the competition directly into the NBA finals against the Dallas Mavericks. After establishing an early 2-1 lead in the best of seven games series, they ended up losing the title. One year later after another dominant season, the Heat again found themselves in the Finals versus the Oklahoma City Thunder. Fueled by the prior year’s defeat, James, Wade, and the rest of the team stepped up their game. The extra effort paid off when they won four games to one, marking the first championship won by Wade and James on the same team. With a tried and true blueprint from the season before, the team found themselves in the finals for the third year in a row. After beating the legendary San Antonio Spurs in seven games, LeBron and Wade claimed their second NBA title together.
Because their success on the court has been so profound, much of what has been reported in the media about the two relates to just that. Perhaps just as interesting, however, is the bond that the two have established off of the court. Wade and LeBron have been on countless vacations together and even this past month were featured all over Instagram for their combined off-season workouts in Los Angeles. Less well-known is the fact that Dwyane Wade was with LeBron the night that James proposed to his then fianceé, Savannah James.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lebron said “I had D-Wade hold the ring for me all night because I didn’t want Savannah to accidentally bump against me and feel that I had the ring on me. When I asked for the ring, D-Wade looked at me and said, ‘Are you ready?’”.
Perhaps Wade’s wife Gabrielle Union said it best when describing Wade and James’ irreplaceable relationship. “If we played ‘The Newlywed Game’, I don’t know if I’d have more information on my husband than LeBron would,” she said.
While Wade and LeBron have proven multiple times that they are capable of winning an NBA championship, this year’s competition is fierce. Of course, the Golden State Warriors led by superstars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are a force to be reckoned with. In addition to the Warriors, however, are many improven teams that share the same goal of winning a title. For example, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who lost to the Rockets in the playoffs last year, added superstars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Furthermore the Boston Celtics, last year’s number one seed in the East, appear to be reinvigorated with the addition of Kyrie Irving to their roster by means of a trade that sent MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas and starting small forward Jae Crowder to the Cavaliers.
While the journey toward the ultimate goal of winning the NBA championship is arduous, I am confident that LeBron wouldn’t trade the opportunity to do it all over again with Wade for anything.