Monday night will be the second and final matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat this season. More importantly, it will likely be the final time LeBron James and Dwyane Wade step on the same basketball court.
Wade, who was selected five spots after James in the 2003 NBA Draft, has already announced that this will be his last season in the NBA after a long and prosperous career. A three-time champion, Wade has solidified himself as a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest shooting guards of all time.
LeBron and D-Wade have a strong relationship off the court that has impacted their play on it. As teammates between 2010 and 2014, they won two titles and reached four straight Finals.
Wade was asked about the impending matchup and gave his thorough thoughts on what it means to play against his friend one last time, especially after missing the first game between the two squads with the birth of his child.
Following via Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald:
“Out of all the players in the league besides [Udonis Haslem], Bron is one of my closest friends,” Wade said. “It definitely will mean a little bit more, and just everything in our careers. The paths that we both went down as competitors versus each other and as teammates, we’ll always be linked together forever.
“So, it will definitely mean a lot. It’s the ending of a chapter in both of our lives. This is just the end of a chapter as competitors on the basketball court.”
“I’ll savor this. We both will,” Wade said of Monday’s matchup against James. “We both had some amazing moments versus each other as competitors. But we obviously had some great moments as teammates. And we’re going to be friends forever, but this is the last time we play basketball versus each other. So we’ll enjoy it and then we’ll savor it.
“Obviously, LeBron is one of my good friends and the history we have as teammates, as well. It definitely means more than just the average last game versus a team or individual.”
So ICONIC!! Crazy how that turned out. The photographer who caught this is a 🐐! SHEESH! https://t.co/ru8MIxlIqr
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 7, 2018
The Lakers are no strangers to meaningful games like this, given their recent history with Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour, something Wade said “meant something to me” as they spent time talking after their final game together.
James also spoke about Monday’s game and what he expected out of it:
“It’s bitter and it’s sweet. It’s sweet and it’s sour,” James said. “The sweet part is that I’ve always loved being on the floor with my brother. We struck up a relationship together at the combine in 2003, and it started from there. And the sour part about it is that this is our last time sharing the same court. Sometimes it’s just chemistry. Sometimes you can’t even explain it.”
The head-to-head matchup between the two legends is knotted at 15 apiece, meaning Monday’s game will have some extra stakes on the line. For the two close friends, it will mean more to see each other play one last time.