Dwyane Wade Sounds Off on Shaquille O’Neal Years in Miami

Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal

Getty Dwyane Wade (L) and Shaquille O'Neal (R) of the Miami Heat celebrate after winning the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks

The Miami Heat drafted Dwyane Wade with the fifth pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. Wade proved to be a future star as soon as his rookie year, where he was a unanimous selection to the NBA All-Rookie Team. The guard had an iconic playoff moment in just his rookie season where Wade hit a running jumper with 1.3 seconds left in the final quarter to give the Heat an 81–79 victory over the New Orleans Hornets in the first game of the series. The Heat went on to be eliminated 4-2 in the series, but it was clear that Wade was a player for the Heat to build around. 

Following that season, the Heat made a bold move to acquire Shaquille O’Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers in a now historic deal. The trade made the Heat instant contenders. Dwyane Wade on a recent appearance on the Point Forward podcast talked about what the addition of Shaq did for his NBA career. 

Dwyane Wade on Shaq Impact

Wade joined Evan Turner and Andre Igoudala on their “Point Forward” podcast, where they talked about the impact that Shaquille O’Neal brought to the Heat as he came off the three-peat Lakers squad. 

“When Shaq came, it really inserted that level of confidence in me that I could be one of the greats. I mean, I needed somebody that was a great to be able to show me what it’s like to be great. When Shaq says, you’re going to be one of the greats, I don’t need no more juice than that,” Wade said. 

Shaq, known to be a positive locker room presence, helped elevate Wade’s confidence, and he took the Heat to a new level. It wasn’t his best year statistically, but his presence helped lift Wade to a historic season that saw Wade literally carry the team to an NBA championship with the iconic performances where Wade’s 42, 36, and 43 points in Games 3, 4, and 5 helped carry the team to a ring. 

Dwyane Wade on Being Named to NBA All 75

Shaq helped Wade win the team award of an NBA title in 2008, but the superstar guard recently got named to the NBA’s All 75 list and talked about what the individual honor meant to him this season. 

“I didn’t know it, I didn’t know it was gonna be. We all want to do well individually, but I’ve never like played sports for the individual. I’ve always played from what I fell in love with it, with the team aspect. I’ve always been okay with like not getting an award. I remember when I was trying to get MVP one year, and I was going off for Defensive Player of the Year the same year in ’08, and I came in third in both of them,” Wade shared.

“They just proved to me again that individual awards meant nothing, and so the 75 was probably the first time since then that I really cared about something individually.”

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