Dwyane Wade on Pushing for Shaquille O’Neal to Join Miami Heat in 2004: “I Had Seen Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the Locker Room With the Champagne. I Finally Got a Chance to Do It”

Published 12/24/2021, 11:00 AM EST


Unless you win a championship in the NBA, it’s very difficult to establish yourself as a great player. Of course, there are many legends that entered the league but left without a title. However, the stamp of a championship really puts you on a pedestal and every NBA player aims to achieve that. That’s exactly what Dwyane Wade was missing out on until Shaquille O’Neal came and joined him at Miami Heat.

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Sure, a legacy that consists of Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James is class apart. But what Wade and Shaq achieved together was quite unexpected.

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Dwyane Wade on bringing Shaquille O’Neal to Miami Heat

Wade recently appeared on Jalen Rose’s ‘Renaissance’ podcast. In conversation with Dwyane, Jalen asked him how the playoff run was in 2006 and the NBA finals when he finally got his first championship against the Dallas Mavericks. “In that era, if you don’t win championships, you’re not great. That’s the way it was portrayed,” the Miami Heat legend clarified.

CHICAGO – APRIL 24: (L-R) Antoine Walker #8, Shaquille O’Neal #32 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat sit on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 24, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls won 107-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

“I knew if I wanted to be on Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan level, I had to be considered a champion. And when I got my opportunity at 24-year-old, my third year in the NBA, with one of the most dominant centers to ever play the game, I knew that this was my chance. And I couldn’t have let this opportunity slide by.”

Everybody in his team trusted him blindly to make it happen, so Wade expressed that it only boosted his confidence more. He added, “It was amazing to be able to finally complete something that’s been my dream my whole life. I had seen Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the locker room with the champagne. I finally got a chance to do it.”

WATCH THIS STORY: NBA Stars That Shaquille O’Neal Has Taken Jabs at: Donovan Mitchell, James Harden & Others

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The move to South Beach turned out great for both

DALLAS – JUNE 20: Series MVP Dwyane Wade #3 and Shaquille O’Neal #32 of the Miami Heat celebrate together after the Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks in game six of the 2006 NBA Finals on June 20, 2006 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Heat won 95-92 and win the series 4-2. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

A lot of people believe that Shaq is the only reason Wade was able to win a title against Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks. But it’s clear that Wade knows how vital O’Neal’s presence was at the time.

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Shaq moving to South Beach after all the drama in LA, and Wade’s growing thirst for a title really worked well together. Although the legendary Shaq did not stay with Miami very long, that title really polished his legacy. And D-Wade had simply just got a whiff of what was to come after Bosh and LBJ arrived years later.

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Yashima Bhatia

1803 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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