LeBron James and Dwyane Wade worked out together just over an hour prior to the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat taking the court at Staples Center, and they concluded the night embracing one another after an entertaining final two possessions.
Cameras were on the two future Hall of Famers as they soaked in a career’s worth of games competing with and against each other, and exchanged jerseys to commemorate their final head-to-head meeting. James finished with 16 wins in the 31 matchups.
In between tipoff and the final buzzer, there were flashes of Wade turning back the clock and plenty of cheers. He received a standing ovation upon entering the game off the bench in the first quarter, and later was the subject of a tribute video.
“I thought it was incredible,” Wade said of the gesture. “I wanted to thank Rob Pelinka, Magic, Jeanie Buss. Just the whole Laker front office and Laker Nation for allowing that to happen. I did not expect that. That was so cool. I looked over and saw my wife beaming. It was great. I appreciate them for giving me that moment.”
While he never played for the Lakers in his career, Wade always made for memorable battles with Kobe Bryant. Wade has previously spoken fondly of sharing the court with Bryant at Staples Center during his final season.
And now as he closes in on the ending of his career, Wade is looking forward to what the next chapter has in store for his friendship with James. “We’re brothers,” Wade said.
“Obviously, on the court we built something special from the standpoint of what we helped each other do in our careers. Off the court, we’ve always been pretty good friends. I’ll be around. You guys will see me around at some of the games next year.”
James has already extended an invitation to have Wade join him at the Lakers practice facility for workouts and to assist with mentoring the young core.