While Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant stand as the two best shooting guards in NBA history, many rank Dwyane Wade right behind them. Wade is in his 16th season, which he announced would be the last of his career.
While Bryant’s ascension largely came as Jordan was entering the twilight of his career, Bryant and Wade got to match up several times during the peak years. From it stemmed a healthy competition and mutual respect.
Wade idolized Bryant as a young child growing up in Chicago and during his time at Marquette. He’s previously explained the importance Bryant had on his career, and losing ‘a little piece’ of himself when the five-time champion retired.
Ahead of Wade playing in the final All-Star Game of his career, he again discussed Bryant on “Dwyane Wade & Kevin Garnett: Players Only,” revealing a phone call that will be forever cherished, via TNT:
“Coming into the NBA, Iverson and Kobe were the two I wanted to be on the court. So it went from my rookie year, excited to play against one of my idols, to my second year, we’re going at it and getting in scuffles. That’s when Kobe started to respect me, when he realized I’m not backing down. It’s not a tension, that’s just who I am. One of the coolest moments for me in my career was, I’m out of the playoffs, he calls me. And he says, ‘D, they’re guarding me like this. I know you’re great and pick and rolls, you’re great at splitting. What should I do? So I gave him my whole, this is what I look for, this is what I do, this and that. I get off the phone and I lost it. I’m like, ‘Kob’ just called me!’”
Wade won 11 of 20 regular-season games he played against Bryant during his career. Beyond exciting moments that came in those contests, the two had their share of battles in the annual All-Star Game. Included in that was Wade growing frustrated and accidentally breaking Bryant’s nose.
As Wade navigates through his ‘One Last Dance’ farewell tour, the Los Angeles Lakers were among the teams that paid their respect when he played at Staples Center for the final time.
Reminder: Vivid Seats is the Official Ticket Reseller of LakersNation.com. New Customers use “LAKERSNATION” (all CAPS) in the Vivid Seats App on your phone and get 10% off any Lakers home game ticket order for the remainder of the season.