LOS ANGELES (CBSMiami) – Emotions ran high during the final meeting between two future Pro Basketball Hall of Famers that just happened to also be best friends.
Monday night’s game between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers ended in the only way that felt right, with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sharing a final moment of embrace on the court as competitors.
“It’s bittersweet man,” said James. “Every possession you just knew you were getting closer and closer to the last one. So may emotions going on right now just knowing I’m losing a brother in this game.”
Wade didn’t take the final shot of the game, but give him credit for trying to arrange it while Lebron was at the line for some crucial free throws in the 4th quarter.
“I said ‘bro just miss is so I can shoot the game winner,’” Wade joked. “’Me and you one on one, just let me shoot it and go for it.’”
He may not have gotten the ending he wanted but Wade got the ovation he deserved at the Staples Center.
And as a sign of respect, the Lakers made a tribute video in Wade’s honor.
“I didn’t expect that,” Wade said. “That was so cool. I looked over and saw my wife beaming. It was so great. I appreciate them just for giving me that moment. And something I definitely didn’t expect.”
Of course the one thing we were all ready for was the jersey swap.
Wade and LeBron came into the league together, won NBA Championships and Olympic medals together.
A basketball relationship culminating in this moment.
“This is one of the greatest to play this game,” LeBron said of Wade. “Just as a privilege for him to enter the league with me, it’s beyond mutual. We’re going to miss Flash man. We’re going to miss him in this league, that’s for sure.”
“This is the holy grail for me, unless we figure this thing out and go to the Finals,” LeBron added. “This is the holy grail of competition, playing against the game’s greatest player. I thanked him for bringing us to this stage for our last hoorah.”