The “what if” of a Kobe Bryant-LeBron James NBA Finals appearance is one that will define that era of the league. The two had numerous chances to meet, specifically in the early 2010s as the Lakers were reeling off NBA titles and LeBron was forming a super team in Miami.
Interestingly, though, that success from the Lakers led to the formation of Heatles, as Dwyane Wade recently revealed. Tony Parker launched his own podcast recently called Skweek Show and opened with an absolutely star-studded episode that included French singer Matt Pokora, French soccer legend Thierry Henry and fellow new Hall of Famers Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Wade.
During their conversation, Wade revealed his thoughts on watching the closing moments of the 2010 NBA Finals and how that led to him calling LeBron, leading to the pair teaming up with Chris Bosh in Miami that summer.
Dwayne Wade talks about how he turned off the TV when Kobe won in 2010 and immediately called LeBron.— Brandon (@clickthatfollow) September 25, 2023
"LeBron, so what you gonna do?"
"Kobe winning all these rings, now he got 5.."
Miami's superteam was created because of Kobe. pic.twitter.com/1QXAkRc5V3
There were probably lots of motivations that led to the Heat forming together but Kobe and the Lakers making three straight Finals and dominating the league likely played a role in that. If nothing else, the trio knew that they needed to team up to dethrone them.
Unfortunately, Kobe never met any of the Wade or LeBron in the Finals. Considering where they will rank not just in that era of basketball but in the game's history, it’s a shame. Rarely, if ever, have the greatest players of a generation not played in the NBA Finals.
Whether it was WIlt, West, Baylor and Russell, Magic and Bird, Jordan and Malone and Stockton or Kobe and Duncan, the best always met with so much on the line. But we’re left wondering what if with this matchup.
But we can at least give Kobe a bit of an edge in the rivalry since it was his success that made them join together, right?
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.