Seventeen seasons, four teams and three NBA titles. LeBron James has had quite the illustrious career, constantly proving he can dominate the competition on good teams, bad teams, in the East or the West and just about any other scenario you can think of. But as much as LeBron fans want to believe he did it all by himself, it was often the play of his teammates in crunch time that got them over the hump. Kyrie’s clutch 3-pointer, Ray Allen’s corner three and the Dwyane Wade alley-oop all rank among the best moments for LeBron’s teammates, but today the DC Sports Section will discuss which one of his partners in crime was the best to do it. Let’s get into it:
LeBron James is up there in the discussion for the greatest of all time alongside Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, but like the other two, he did not win alone. Kobe Bryant had Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol while Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. To me, LeBron’s greatest partners in crime were Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. This trio was amongst the deadliest the association has ever seen and dominated the Eastern Conference for years. As a young man, I remember hearing about this trio and how dangerous they were, each one of them contributing off of each other. Together, they also won two consecutive championships and went to four straight finals appearances. The only reason I believe that this dangerous trio was the best of LeBron’s teammates was because there was a stronger supporting cast in Miami than Cleveland ever had during LeBron’s second stint with another big three of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. If LeBron wins a title with the Lakers, there is a good chance Anthony Davis will enter this conversation as well, but for now the clear answer is Wade and Bosh.
During his time in the NBA, Lebron James has not played with anyone better than multi-time all-star and three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade. Before uniting with James, the legendary shooting guard proved that he could be the missing piece that could help give Lebron James his long sought after NBA championship. With a 2009 scoring title and a 2006 NBA championship performance that many have considered to be one of the best of all time, Wade was starting to put himself in the conversation of all-time great shooting guards. When LeBron arrived, he allocated much of that scoring he was known for to the King and continued to show why he is one of the greatest of all time. While Lebron James has played with some very notable players like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh and most recently, Anthony Davis, Wade has clearly shown his talent with Lebron through the success of their time in Miami, his performances in clutch moments and the bond that would provide for entertaining moments on the court. It doesn’t seem like anyone can give as much to Lebron James as Dwyane Wade did on those star-studded Miami Heat teams and I don’t think Lebron would disagree with me on that.
Dwyane Wade is probably the best teammate LeBron James has ever had, but I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and say that Anthony Davis is the best player that LeBron has ever played with. For the first time in his career, LeBron does not have to be the main scorer on his team, and the reason for that is AD. Davis is a dominant force in the paint and in the post at 6-foot-10, but he can also extend the floor to shoot 3-pointers at a 33% clip. This year is the first in LeBron’s 17-year career where he wasn’t his team’s leading scorer. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kyrie Irving and even Mo Williams are all terrific players, but none of them were good enough where LeBron could take a back seat and become the true point forward that he’s become with AD. Make no mistake, LeBron can still get you 30 points when he needs to, but he’s had more 15-point, 12-assist games this year because he doesn’t have to score 35 for his team to have a chance to win. LeBron is still the Lakers’ most important offensive player, but Davis has taken some of the scoring burden off him like no teammate has before.
While Anthony Davis might be the most talented player LeBron James has ever played with, his best teammate was The Flash. Dwyane Wade, for those of you too young to remember, was a 6-foot-4-inch three-time champion, the third best shooting guard of all time and a euro-stepping NBA icon that catapulted LeBron’s career into the GOAT conversation. Wade was established as a superstar before the arrival of LeBron, cementing his legacy with one of the greatest playoff performances ever in his 2006 championship run. He was the player that mentored LeBron on how to cope with superstardom and learn how to lead a team to a championship. Wade made the ultimate sacrifice and took a step back statistically for the good of the Miami Heat and played the largest secondary role to LeBron’s legacy of any other player. I’m sure my friends in this round table will bring up Wade’s phenomenal stats to bolster his case in this discussion but it’s his value and chemistry with LeBron as a teammate to me that stands out above all. It is unquestionable that Wade has and always will be LeBron’s greatest teammate.