When LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, plenty of skeptics scoffed at the notion that he and Dwyane Wade could peacefully coexist as two megastars on the same team.
If last season's run to the NBA Finals did not disabuse NBA watchers of that notion, James' most recent comments about his relationship with Wade could.
James told the Sun-Sentinel Wednesday
that the chemistry between he and Wade "is at an all-time high right now, honestly." Despite Wade missing time this year due to injury, he and James have made a series of highlight-reel alley oop dunks that reveal the degree of cohesion the two have reached.
"It is not like we look for each other more than others, it kind of just happens," James added. "We're two of the fastest guys in the league when it comes to a break and it is kind of pick-your-poison with the defender, either allow me to get a dunk or allow D-Wade to get a dunk."
"We are two unselfish players," he concluded. "If a guy is open, we pass it."
Wade agreed with James' assessment, saying, "I kind of have a feel for when he's coming. I hear him trucking out of the corner of my ear. I see him and he's the kind of guy that you can just throw it up and he'll get it."
The two have already spent a season together on the Heat, but their relationship dates back way farther than that, as Wade points out. "If there was one guy that I've thrown the most lobs to in my life, it's been LeBron, from All-Star games, to Olympics, and obviously playing with the Heat," he said.
"Those guys are such high-IQ players," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra added, "it was a matter of time before they learned how to play off each other."
Of course, Miami's transformation into "Lob City East" (riffing on a phrase of LA Clipper Blake Griffin) does little to quell the main criticism lobbed at Wade and James: who takes over in the final seconds when the Heat need a score to tie or win a game? For the Heat's biggest critics, the true measure of Wade and James' relationship will come when the two are forced to choose between taking the last shot or deferring to the other man.
No amount of flashy alley oops will convince the critics that Wade and James' relationship is in no danger of fracturing.