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Dwyane Wade: Heat’s Big 3 ‘taken aback’ by instant backlash

When LeBron James announced during the infamous “The Decision” that he was taking his talents to South Beach in the summer of 2010 to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat, the term “Big 3” became part of the NBA vernacular.

Looking back, Wade admits the three superstars were surprised by the backlash spawned by them joining forces in pursuit of a title.

“Everyone was loved individually, from what we did in high school, college, NBA, and then it all turned into ‘Aagghhh,’” Wade told Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Nadkarni. “Everywhere we went, people looked at us differently. The fans talked to us differently. We were taken aback by all the negative attention.”

What ultimately united the Big 3, Wade says, was the seemingly widespread enmity the greater NBA world had for the Heat.

“The hatred part of it really got to us. This is what they want, this is what they’re going to get,” Wade said. “That kind of mentality was a tough way to play basketball, with the whole weight of the world on your shoulders. So we were going to show them.”

The Heat stumbled out of the gate during the 2010 season as the superstar moving parts acclimated to one another. The Heat nevertheless reached the NBA Finals, only to lose to the Dallas Mavericks, which “was the best thing to happen to us,” Wade insists.

“Because if we won . . . oh, man. I don’t know what we would have done,” Wade said. “We would have been so out of our minds . . . it would have been like a middle finger up to everybody. But that’s not who I am.”

The Heat of course rebounded in ensuing years, winning NBA titles in 2012 and 2013 with Finals victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, respectively. The Heat would lose to the Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals, something that possibly played a role in James deciding to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers the following the season.

The rest, as it is often said, is history, although the NBA would never be the same in the wake of the Heat’s landscape-changing Big 3.