Longtime rivals Dirk, Wade ‘bonded’ over dinner ahead of HOF ceremony

Longtime rivals Dirk, Wade 'bonded' over dinner ahead of HOF ceremony

Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade have turned a page in their relationship as they prepare to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame together.

In an interview with Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, Nowitzki revealed that he and his former Miami Heat nemesis “actually bonded” over dinner in Houston in early April after they were announced as part of the Hall of Fame’s class of 2023.

“We sat together with his family during one of the dinners, and we talked,” the Dallas Mavericks legend said. “And so I think it’s going to be great. I think there’s a lot of mutual respect there now.

“I know we’ve gone through some stuff in our careers, but at the end of the day not everybody you compete against at the highest level can be friends. It’s just not how it works. I think there were some things said on both sides that weren’t liked by the other side but you know what? This is 20-something years later now, almost. So there’s really no hard feelings, and it’s gonna be a fun week with him.”

Nowitzki’s Mavs faced Wade and the Heat in both the 2006 and 2011 NBA Finals. The Heat defeated Dallas in the first matchup and the Mavs won the second, capturing their first and only championship to date.

Ahead of Game 5 of the 2011 series, Wade and then-Heat teammate LeBron James were filmed seemingly mocking Nowitzki for battling an illness the previous game. Nowitzki stated in a 2022 interview that he found their actions “a little disrespectful,” but said it didn’t add to his motivation.

The Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony will be held Aug. 12 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Joining Nowitzki and Wade in this year’s class are Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, and Becky Hammon.

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