Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade remember wild LeBron James stories from NBA Finals
Before his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James had made the NBA Finals eight straight times — and with that comes plenty of stories from some of his closest friends, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade.
Paul, who was only in his second year in the league, was already a good friend of James from their AAU days and had made it a point to support him in his first trip to the NBA Finals. As fate would have it, James’ girlfriend at the time, Savannah Brinson, was pregnant with his firstborn and bound to give birth right before Game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs, as the Cleveland Cavaliers stared at a 3-0 hole.
“The night before Game 4 (of the 2007 Finals), that’s when his son was born,” said Paul. “Bryce. Yeah, I was there. I was coming to the Finals games, so I was staying with him. It was my first or second year in the league, and we were at the house. And, Vannah (LeBron’s wife, Savannah) had gone to the doctor, and I think called back to the house and said, “I think my water broke,” or something like that. And me and him got in the car to go to the Cleveland Clinic. We were there all night. Me and LeBron, Randy (Mims), Mav (Maverick Carter), Rich (Paul) his mom, all of us.
“We were there all night, and then just waiting for Bryce to be born. He had Game 4 of the Finals the next day. Man, we were playing cards, we were doing all types of stuff. We were waiting, waiting for Vannah to deliver the baby. I remember she had him late, and we went back to the house. It was late, late. Crazy. Obviously, they got swept the next day.”
James’ loss to the Spurs is one that often gets held against him when talking about all-time greats, yet very few people know he was there for his girlfriend and his firstborn right before the biggest stage he’d been in at the NBA level.
Dwyane Wade also remembers James’ frustration upon letting a 2-0 lead slip through his hands in 2011, the year after he joined the Miami Heat
“I got a chance to see him at his lowest, after the 2011 Finals,” said Wade. “When it came to losing in the Finals with the Heat, and not living up to his own and everyone else’s expectations. I watched him take it all on the chin and pick himself up off the ground and embraced it all. He bet on his work ethic and pure love for the game.”
James would bounce back from that season to crown himself a champion in 2012, then do so again the following year before losing in 2014 and ending his short-lived tenure with the Heat to return to Cleveland.