‘LeBron Didn’t Know How To Win Until He Got To Dwyane Wade. Let’s Call That What it Is’: Kyrie Is Great, But Not LeBron’s Best Running Mate

Stephen A. Smith let his “First Take” viewing audience know how he really feels about LeBron James’ legacy, especially when it comes to the topic of James’ best wingman in his career.

The obvious choices would be Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving, the two lead guards he won his first three of four NBA championships with. 

Rumors have swirled for years about LeBron and Kyrie possibly reuniting. LeBron James recently addressed his relationship with Kyrie on his “Mind The Game” podcast with JJ Redick.  

“There was nothing on a basketball floor that Kyrie couldn’t do and sitting here watching it, I’m like so proud of his growth…but at the same time. I’m so F–kn mad, at the same time that I’m not his running mate anymore,” James said.  

Smith said it’s not even close. 

“If it weren’t for Dwyane Wade I can make a legitimate argument there would have never been a Kyrie. LeBron didn’t know how to win until he got to Dwyane Wade. Let’s call that what it is. Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley. It’s a fact. Kyrie’s spectacular. Kyrie’s sensational. I’m not saying anything about the greatness of Kyrie,” Smith insisted.

Stephen A. Smith says Dwyane Wade is by far the best running mate LeBron James ever had because he taught this generation's GOAT how to win.
Stephen A. Smith says Dwyane Wade is by far the best running mate LeBron James ever had because he taught this generation’s GOAT how to win. (Photo: Getty Images_

Stephen A. Smith Says Dwyane Wade Showed LeBron How To Win

Smith continued: “About four years prior there was another dude. And that dude came along when LeBron James was so warped, he didn’t want to go to the free throw line. He didn’t want to take game-winning shots during an All-Star game. There was lot of stuff that happened.”

Smith added that Kyrie’s 2016 heroics was years after Wade’s heroics in 2006, when the Miami Heat were trailing the Mavericks 0-2 in the series with an aging and unmotivated Shaquille O’Neal, who told Wade that it was his team and he had to take control if they wanted a ring. 

Wade responded by becoming the Hall of Fame caliber assassin we know him to be and as Smith pointed out, the guard out of Marquette averaged 37 points in the last four games to snatch the championship and cement himself as an all-time great. 

Co-panelist Brian Windhorst, who has covered LeBron James since high school added:

“Noone has carried LeBron James in the Finals like Wade carried him in 2011.”

“It’s a crime that LeBron did not take advantage of him playing that well.” 

Windhorst then reminded Stephen A. of Cleveland’s epic 2016 Finals win, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to bring the title back to Cleveland with Kyrie hitting the game-winning shot. In his opinion, LeBron covets that ring and that moment with Kyrie the most in his career.

“I don’t give a damn about what LeBron James said about that,” Smith responded. “What I’m saying is, Kyrie came after. The LeBron James that Kyrie helped propel to a championship in Cleveland, is not the LeBron James that Wade (played with).” 

Mad Dog Russo disagreed with both and said, “Ray Allen bailed LeBron out against San Antonio.” 

It became the battle of who bailed out LeBron James, which isn’t necessarily the angle the network was probably looking for. It also surely ticked off LeBron fans who declare him the GOAT and refuse to acknowledge any obvious stains, warts or flaws in his legacy. 

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