Reunited…. and it feels so good. Well, not for everyone. Die-hard Miami Heat fans are going to feel SICK this upcoming NBA season (opening in about three weeks!) when Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, two legends who gave the Heat their four greatest years in franchise history, reunite as teammates with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In case you haven’t heard, Wade, a three-time NBA champion, was bought out by the Chicago Bulls and agreed to sign a minimum deal with the Cavs this week. Together with James, the duo led Miami to four straight NBA Finals appearances from 2011-2014 and won two championships. They’re hoping to do the same for Cleveland, which lost to Golden State in the finals last season.
Before the James-Wade partnership (both of them are BFFs, by the way) opens a new chapter, let’s take a look back at some of the great moments they had in the past. Along with Chris Bosh, LeBron and Dwyane shocked the world in 2010 by forming Miami’s Big Three, and what followed were memories to last a lifetime.
Here are the eight best LBJ-D.Wade moments:
8. A couple of big plays against the Pacers
Spoiler alert: you’re going to see the Indiana Pacers get victimized a lot in this article. Before Paul George became a superstar, he was part of a tough Indiana team with David West, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, and Danny Granger which gave Miami a lot of headaches. Unfortunately for the boys of Indy, LeBron and Wade always had the final laugh.
In 2011, Wade and James connected on an alley-oop. Normal for two really athletic dudes, right? Well, this one was full court:
And then a year later, just when it looked like Indiana would steal a road regular season win against Miami, James and Wade were like, “Nah.”
Plot twist: the best quarterback in Miami was actually playing basketball.
7. Dunking all over the Knicks
Months after Miami formed a Big Three, New York created a superteam of its own by pairing up Amare Stoudemire with Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks and Heat were expected to form a rivalry that would last years. Instead, much like Anthony’s forgettable time in New York, here’s how that “rivalry” turned out:
6. The shootout against Sacramento
The Sacramento Kings didn’t belong in the same breath as Miami during the peak of the Heat’s Big Three run. But when you’re the defending champions like Miami was on February 26, 2013, you get everyone’s best shot. That’s why DeMarcus Cousins and company pushed the Heat to the limit. Unfortunately for them, the brilliance of the James-Wade combo was too much to overcome.
5. Heartbreakers in Chicago
Want to know how meaningless regular season games are come playoff time? In the 2010-2011 NBA season, the Bulls swept their 3-game regular season series against the Heat. But when the two teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami blew them out 4-1.
Game 5 of that series, where the Heat closed off MVP Derrick Rose and his team, included one of the most memorable comebacks in playoff history. Miami was down 76-64 with under four minutes to go and the series looked poised to return to South Beach for a Game 6.
LeBron and Wade had other plans.
4. Not today, Indiana
When the Heat entered Game 4 of their 2012 Conference Semis against the Pacers, it looked like everything was about to unravel. Miami was already missing Bosh who was injured, just got blown out in the prior game to go down 2-1, and Wade was looking all out of sorts.
But as usual, “Flash” stepped up when his team needed it most by coming alive in Game 4. Together with James, the duo had unforgettable performances for the series-tying victory. The Heat went on to win the next two matchups and advanced to the next round.
3. A throwback for the ages
If Wade’s performances looked bad in 2012, it was even worse the year after in the 2013 Finals against the Spurs. Wade had been held under 20 points in each game prior to Game 4 by San Antonio, and with the Heat again down 2-1, they needed the most popular player in franchise history to step up and save them.
Unsurprisingly, that’s exactly what he did. Again with some help from James, Wade put on a finals performance for the ages. The duo was unstoppable in the second half and beat the Spurs to avoid going down 3-1.
2. Finally, the championship
The first year of Miami’s Big Three run ended in devastation. LeBron and company cruised through the first three rounds of the postseason but fell short against the Mavericks in the finals. At that time already the most hated team in the league, the criticism and laughter only got louder following the defeat.
But Miami came back a team on a mission in 2012, and all the hard work came to fruition when they beat the OKC Thunder in five games in the finals. Both James and Wade were brilliant, out-dueling Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to win the Heat its second franchise championship while silencing the haters.
1. Taking down the Spurs
No team gave Miami more of a headache than San Antonio during those four years. At times the Spurs looked impossible to defeat, and during Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, the Heat needed a miracle (aka Ray Allen) to avoid another championship defeat.
In Game 7, James and Wade knew they had to be excellent in order to close out San Antonio. That’s exactly what they were. The result? A second straight title for Miami.
What do you think of this reunion? Tell us your thoughts below!