How Two Epic NBA Finals Battles And One Coughing Taunt Forever Linked Dwyane Wade And Dirk Nowitzki’s Hall of Fame Paths

This weekend’s 2023 Naismith Hall of Fame inductions include five-time NBA Championship-winning coach Gregg Popovich, two-time championship-winning Lakers forward Pau Gasol and four-time NBA champ Spurs point guard Tony Parker. 

And of course, the real meat and potatoes of the class, legend Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and three-time title winning guard Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.

And while the two aren’t friends, they respect each other’s careers and accomplishments enough to be cordial. 

Dirk Says They’re Not Friends But Have Mutual Respect 

Speaking with “The Saturday Stein Line” with Marc Stein, Nowitzki gave some insight as to where he and Wade’s relationship stands. 

“I wouldn’t say friends. There’s a mutual sense of respect for each other’s career. Obviously we’re cordial, there’s no bad blood anymore. We’ve both moved on.” 

“Are we friends? No, we don’t text each other, but there’s a lot of respect there,” Nowitzki said. 


Two Epic Finals Battles Have A Lot To Do With Lukewarm Feelings

During their illustrious Hall of Fame careers, Wade and Dirk faced off twice in the NBA Finals.

In 2006, Wade had his coming-out party as he and Shaq led the Miami Heat back from an 0-2 deficit to win four games in a row and the Heat’s first championship. The win solidified Wade as a bona fide star in the league. 

Dirk and his Mavericks returned the favor in 2011 when he upset the Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh “Heatles” in six games, but it’s what happened off the court that played a major role in their relationship dynamic. 

During Game 4 of the 2011 Finals, Nowitzki could be seen coughing and looking ill. Following the Mavs’ Game 4 win to tie the series, Wade and Bron could be seen via camera mocking Dirk’s cough. That didn’t sit well with Dirk, and earlier this year he let Wade and his teammates know about it in an interview. With the hatchet seemingly buried following Wade’s apology, the two will now enter the Hall of Fame together on Saturday.

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