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Heat’s Dwyane Wade says loss to Mavs in 2011 NBA Finals ‘was the best thing to happen to us’

Dwyane Wade, Heat

When LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade to form the Big Three of the Miami Heat back in 2010, everybody thought they were going to win a lot of titles. They shrugged off their early-season struggles to reach the 2011 NBA Finals and faced the Dallas Mavericks. Everybody thought that it would be a walk in the park for Miami, especially since Dallas only had Dirk Nowitzki and several aging veterans.

But the Heat were stunned and lost that series in six games, and all of a sudden there were a lot of questions about whether or not Wade and James could co-exist.

There was no denying that D-Wade was the heart and soul of the Heat, but LeBron’s arrival meant he was no longer the best player on the squad. In his interview with Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated, Wade said that the loss to the Finals made him realize a lot of things, including accepting James as the alpha of the team:

“You never want to say it, but losing to Dallas was the best thing to happen to us. Because if we won, oh, man. I don’t know what we would have done. We would have been so out of our minds . . . it would have been like a middle finger up to everybody. But that’s not who I am.”

But even though Wade already knew the difference between him and LeBron in terms of talent, he still needed to understand the things he needed to do for the betterment of the team. He talked to James in the summer of 2011, when their families went on vacation together in the Bahamas:

“It was the first time we’ve seen each other since we lost. I remember sitting around with my wife and just thinking, What can I do next year to be better? And I knew it wasn’t what I did on the court, because I did have a hell of a year. And a hell of a Finals. So I knew it had to be something else. I watched LeBron up close. I knew he can go to a level that I couldn’t go to. And I also wanted to take a little bit of that looking-over-his-shoulder mentality away. So I said, ‘Go ahead, bro. Be your great self and we will all figure out how to be great around you.’”

And that’s exactly what happened. LeBron James dominated opponents with his all-around game, while Dwyane Wade provided the necessary help on both ends of the floor. It made them a very unstoppable tandem, and with the help of Chris Bosh, Miami won two straight titles.