It's the end of one of the best movies you could ever see - James pays tribute to retiring Wade
LeBron James paid tribute to close friend Dwyane Wade as the Los Angeles Lakers forward came out on top in the pair's final NBA meeting on Monday.
The Lakers earned a 108-105 victory at Staples Center after four-time NBA MVP James prevented Wade, who is retiring at the end of the season, from sinking a late three-pointer.
In what was their 31st head-to-head meeting, James' team emerged victorious for a 16th time, however he was quick to praise the impact Wade has had on his career over the past 16 years.
After entering the NBA together in 2003, James and Wade's careers have seen them face-off as rivals and work together as team-mates.
They shared a court for the last time on Monday and it all came down to the two final plays, with the future Hall of Famers guarding each other, something James says even Hollywood would not have been able to come up with.
"It ended how it was supposed to end, and I'm not even talking about the winner [of the match]," James told reporters. "Us matched up for the final two possessions, him guarding me on one end, I'm guarding him on the other end. We've all got a treat tonight.
"I didn't even realise that we were tied 15-15 coming in to today's game until this morning, it's just a storybook, we've got great writers here in Hollywood but I don't know if they'd be able to write this one!
"It's the end of one of the best movies you could ever see."
James went on to pay tribute to his retiring friend post-match, thanking Wade for helping him achieve everything he has during a stellar 16-year career.
"Some people say you shouldn't be friends with your competitors because you still can't compete," he added.
"And I think people have seen that and realise that even with our friendship we competed against each other, we pushed each other when we were playing against each other, when we were watching each other from afar.
"We pushed each other, especially in those first seven years, then we got together for four years [in Miami] and we pushed each other even more then and did something special.
"We've pushed each other even more when we became competitors once again.
"We did it our way, we didn't care about the narrative people created for us, we did it our way and it was an unbelievable ride for 16 years."
James continued: "I would have been very successful in this league without D-Wade, but to accomplish what I really wanted to accomplish in this league – and that's winning at the highest level – I needed him.
"And that's why I made the jump, and I appreciate more than I can express in words what he did for me when I went down to Miami.
"I spent 25 years in Akron, Ohio, that's all I knew, so for me to move down to Miami and him to open up that city for me and my family, and make it so seamless, it just shows what type of guy he is.
"He's a stand-up guy. He's a legend."
Meanwhile, Wade admitted the realisation he will never face James in a competitive match again dawned on him at the buzzer in Los Angeles.
"I knew at some point after the game it was going to hit me that this would be the last time we was competing against each other and it hit me right away once the buzzer sound," Wade said.
"And we got an opportunity on the court just to look at each other and be like, 'Man, this has been fun, this has been one hell of a ride' and we've enjoyed it together."