LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s NBA brotherhood came to an end on Monday night, as the two future Hall of famers shared a court for the last time.
This season is Dwayne Wade’s farewell tour. Rather than chase one more ring, he’s playing out his final season with a mediocre Heat team, returning to the birthplace of his illustrious career. The ageless Bron is embarking on a new beginning with the Lakers, who are now 6-1 in the last seven games and 17-10 overall.
“I’ll savor this,” Wade said. “We both will. … We’re going to be friends forever, but this is the last time we play basketball versus each other.”
They share a brotherhood that has spanned 16 years, 6 championships (two of which they won together with the Miami Heat) and some transcending, historical moments on and off the court.
“It’s like a friendship that I can’t really explain,” James said in 2014. …”a brother that I never had.”
Here are our Top 5 moments in the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade Brotherhood.
1. The Start Of Ya Ending
On Monday night, the two future Hall of Famers matched up on the court for the last time.
James led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 108-105 victory over Wade’s Miami Heat at Staples Center. The game appropriately ended with the Heat down three, the ball in Wade’s hands and LeBron defending.
With James stuck to him like a rain-drenched sweater, Wade hurled a shot up at the buzzer that fell short. The two players embraced, stood for a moment and kicked it right there on the court with media cameras flashing at the speed of light.
2. I Am Legend: Head of The 2003 Draft Class
When LeBron James was selected No. 1 overall out of high school and the less-heralded Wade was taken 5th overall out of Marquette, everyone was sure that James was destined for greatness, but most folks slept on Wade.
It was LeBron James and everyone else in that Draft as far as the basketball world was concerned. Wade and LeBron developed a friendship that proved they had more in common than people thought. Their astute basketball minds, work ethic and desire to be champions were running on the same frequency.
Everybody else seemed to be jogging. There were some great players taken in that first round like Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. Others went on to become major pieces on championship teams.
But Wade and LeBron quickly elevated themselves to superstar level, faces of the game. Not only did they understand the responsibility of representing the NBA, both legends shared a consciousness and social awareness.
The tandem’s entrepreneurial spirit, community improvement projects and the responsible and positive light they reflect while raising black sons in Trump’s new America, will ensure that their impact on society continues, long after their basketball careers have ended.
3. Not one…Not two…Not three…
During their four years in South Beach, en route to winning back-to-back championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had some classic connections on the court.
None better than Wade’s Bob Gibson lob to James resulting in a 90-foot alley-oop back in February of 2011.
James called it “probably…the best pass in NBA history.”
4. NBA Game Changers: Age Of The Superteam
In 2010 free agency, LeBron James stunned the basketball world, left Cleveland and took his talents to South Beach to form a Superteam with his best friend Wade and fellow Top 5 2003 Draft pick Chris Bosh.
It was a move that would change the culture of basketball business and lead to a new age of empowerment for players. After James joined Wade and Bosh, the league’s philosophy changed and organizations began trying to recruit superstars and stack their teams. Players started dictating destinations.
It was never a matter of whether or not the Heatles could make it work. From the moment they formed like Voltron the question was how many championships would Miami’s Big Three win.
When LeBron joined the Heat, he was already 9 years into a remarkable career. He took Cleveland out of the doldrums and made them championship contenders.
To get over the hump, LeBron knew he needed to join Wade, who had already won a championship and Finals MVP with Shaq in 2006.
It marked significant moments in the careers of both players. James finally got the monkey off his back and Wade finally got the respect he deserved as an all-time great.
5. All-Black Activists
Who can forget LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s powerful opening message at the 2016 ESPY Awards, just months before Colin Kaepernick took his first knee?
Kaepernick may have started the revolution but the watershed moment that sparked the flame that moved Kaepernick to action occurred that night in July, as Melo, CP3, Wade, and LeBron took a stand and called for social activism and unity within the African-American community.
They spoke the names of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile — all unarmed victims of police murders.
On that night, the modern Black athlete drew a line in the sand and let everyone know that the Black experience in professional sports would never go back to the way it was.