Many NBA fans believe that LeBron James had his best years as a member of the Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade, one of his teammates throughout his time in Miami, seems to agree with that.
“Yes,” Wade said when asked by Sports Illustrated if James evolved as a scorer in Miami. “First of all, I mean, he was young. He did seven years in Cleveland. He came in as 18 years old, right, so he’s still so young. And he came to Miami right in that time where really you think LeBron has exceeded this. You think that’s the best time you’re going to get as a professional athlete from 25 to 29. Those are the prime years. And so we were lucky to get him in his prime years. But the thing about LeBron is he’s a sponge. And so he will not allow anybody to be better than him at anything.”
During his time in Miami, James averaged 26.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game while connecting on 54.3 percent of shots from the field and 36.9 percent of his attempts from downtown.
For comparison, he averaged 27.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and has recorded 27.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.1 assists as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
He also won two titles and two MVP awards while making the All-Star Game four times as a member of the Heat. The former No. 1 overall pick from the 2003 NBA Draft even came very close to winning the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year award, losing out to then-Memphis Grizzlies big man Marc Gasol.
After four seasons in Miami, James decided to head back to Cleveland. He then left the Cavs organization for the Lakers in 2018 and is still with the Purple and Gold today.
He hasn’t enjoyed consistent success with the Lakers, but he did win a title with the team in 2020 inside the league’s Orlando, Fla. bubble.
James continues to get closer and closer to breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record. It seems likely that he’ll pass the mark sometime this season. However, he recently signified that winning a fifth title is more important to him than the scoring record.
The Lakers will need to patch up some holes if they want to seriously contend for a title this season. They’re currently 11-16 and in 12th place in the Western Conference.
The Ohio native will get his first crack at the Heat this season in Miami on Dec. 28. They will then face off again in Los Angeles on Jan. 4.