Even for a player with the CV of Dwyane Wade, he has a few regrets. Not playing LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the Finals is one.
Wade was one of the most explosive players in NBA history right off the bat. He boosted the Heat by a 17-win margin as a rookie, leading them to the second round of the playoffs. He took them one stage further the following year, going 7 games with the Detroit Pistons.
In 2006, he went 2 steps further, eliminating the Pistons in the Conference Finals and then Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks in the Finals. It is the greatest Finals performance of the century by consensus, given how little support he had. Wade average 21 points per game more than the next closest contributor on his team.
Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were people’s consensus top 3 players of the NBA for a number of years. It was certainly true from 2006-2011.
Dwyane Wade wanted to play LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals
Speaking to popular D-Wade channel DwyaneWadeEdits, the Heat legend revealed the one thing he wanted to do as a player:
“I wanted to at least play Bron in the Eastern Conference Finals. We were so close. Because I’m a competitor. It’s mostly about, being able to have that story, that moment with some of the best players to have played the game.”
“I never got to have that moment in the playoffs. When I was younger, I went to a different level when the playoffs came. So I wanted to be able to see those guys in those moments and stack myself versus them. So if there’s anything in my career that I wish I did, that would be one of the things: I wish I would have played LeBron or Kobe in the Finals.”
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Wade came closest to a Finals appearance against Kobe in 2011 and 2012. On both occasions, the Lakers legend was eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual Western Conference champions.