When the plan was hatched
Three of the four stars from the 2003 draft class did something that was unprecedented at the time. LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade decided to forgo financial security in exchange for player empowerment.
Carmelo Anthony, who was also part of that draft class, put himself in a different situation for financial security since he had already experienced a knee injury that required surgery.
It was widely reported that the group of friends were interested in playing together long before the “Big Three” was formed in South Beach.
Why LeBron needed to join a winner
LeBron James’s goal has always been to be the G.O.A.T., but in order to do that, he needed to start winning championships in a hurry.
By the end of 2009-10 season, Kobe Bryant had just won his 5th ring and was then only one behind Michael Jordan’s final count. Kobe was on the verge of winning his second 3-peat with Jordan’s former coach, Phil Jackson.
If LeBron was going to achieve his goal of being considered the best to ever play the sport, he couldn’t waste any more time. He needed to make sure he was on a team that could stop Kobe from catching Jordan.
The Wade Effect
When LeBron James entered the league in 2003, it was reasonable to believe Carmelo Anthony was going to be his main rival throughout his career. LeBron was the best player in high school and Carmelo was the best player in college. Little did anyone know that his biggest rival from his draft class would turn out to be the player that was selected two spots behind Melo with the fifth overall pick.
Dwyane Wade’s stardom rose during the 2004 playoffs, his performance so impressive that it led NBA legend Larry Bird to state that he was on the same level as LeBron and Carmelo. By his third season in the league, Wade led an underdog Heat team, with a declining Shaquille O’Neal, to the NBA championship. That elevated Wade to alpha dog status amongst his group of peers.
LeBron, who idolized Jordan and wore 23 in his honor, had to concede Jordan’s Olympic #9 to Wade since he had a ring. LeBron would settle for #6 in honor of one of his other favorite players, Julius Erving. If LeBron was going to dethrone Kobe, he would need help from another alpha dog, and who better than his best friend?