“Nikes Hitting the Ground”: Dwyane Wade’s Iconic No-Look Pass to LeBron James Was an Ode to Thousands Of Displeased People

Published 02/01/2024, 5:30 AM EST

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While superstars teaming up creates excitement throughout the league, there aren’t many duos who managed to electrify the crowd as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James did. They created countless iconic moments during their time together in Miami, but the picture of Wade throwing his hands in celebration after passing the ball for a thunderous James dunk lives vividly in the minds of basketball fans. Yes, the legendary pass that resulted in the creation of the revered ‘WHAT’ posters. 14 years on, Wade shared the emotions and thrill he experienced during that moment.

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In the latest episode of his podcast, ‘The Why with Dwyane Wade‘, the 3x champion’s guest Rick Ross asked him to recount the play. Wade even revealed the reason behind this unique gesture. Having played all of his college games in the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wade was quite familiar with the former home of the Bucks. The Flash even had his Marquette jersey hanging in the rafters in that arena. He couldn’t accept that people booed him there. So his actions were more of a payback by the Heat star.

In response, he said, The game starts and they want to start booing. I don’t get booed here. I’ve never been booed here. Oh, this is the first time I ever been booed here. And so when we get that moment we get on that break and I see Bron trucking, them Nikes hitting the ground… So when I hit them with this (pass), I just took that quick look back and once I saw that left leg planting, I know what’s next. So I know he takin off so I’m just like this (recreating the WHAT pose).

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The image of James soaring through the air, dunking the ball with Wade’s arms outstretched, became the symbol of their exceptional teamwork and skill. From James’s dunk to Wade celebrating the moment with his hands up in the air, everything about the moment was very special. 

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LeBron James deemed the photograph the “Best sports pic”

Not just the cameraman but the basketball stars themselves knew that it was indeed an iconic moment. King James later posted the picture on his X account and wrote, “By far one of the best sports pics I’ve seen taken!!”

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The picture was taken by Morry Gash during the Miami Heat‘s clash with the Milwaukee Bucks on December 6, 2010. “This particular one has a life of its own,” said Gash, who knew that this picture was special. Wade had his college jersey hung up there at the arena and there was no way he could let the people boo him at the Bradley Center. So, he let his game do all the talking.

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Written by:

Pritha Debroy

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My love for basketball kicked off with the Portland Trail Blazers. The team's spirit, their thrilling plays, and the dedicated fan base had me hooked from the get-go. Now, I'm all about blending my passion for the game with my love for writing.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

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