We may be living in the super team era, but seeing all-time greats play together isn’t something that should be taken for granted. Often, the top stars of a generation go their entire career without playing alongside many of their peers.
As great as their rivalry was, imagine if Magic Johnson had played alongside Larry Bird for a season (in Los Angeles, of course). Or if John Stockton had thrown alley-oops to a “Reign Man”-era Shawn Kemp.
From the modern era, two players with the good fortune to play with a number of other superstars are Dwyane Wade, and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, considered two of the best shooting guards of all time. Despite playing the same position, Wade mentioned on Twitter that if he could play with one player he didn’t get a chance to, it would be Bryant:
I played with many GREATS. If I could have played with any one else..longer than an Olympic stint..Kobe just to practice against him daily. https://t.co/OWh1NXUfAl
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) June 12, 2017
While both Bryant and Wade lined up at shooting guard, Bryant did spend the final season of his career at small forward, and Wade spent some time at point guard, so logistically they could make it work. Of course, given the talent level that both men have, it doesn’t really matter what position they played at, they would find success regardless.
However, Bryant spent his entire career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Wade spent almost all of his with the Miami Heat before joining his hometown Chicago Bulls in free agency last summer. By the time Wade was ready to leave South Beach, Bryant had already retired, which deprived them of being able to play for the same NBA team.
Bryant’s grueling training sessions are legendary, so it’s no surprise that Wade would want to practice against him daily. We can only imagine what the two of them together would have been like, ideally with the Lakers.