Adrienne Bosh and Gabrielle Union have a regular meeting spot to exchange items and information. It’s halfway between their houses, separated by fewer than a dozen others. Yet that short stroll might as well be a dozen miles, compared to how comically close their spouses keep each other, based on what Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade post on Snapchat.
“It cracks me and Gab up all the time,” Adrienne said.
The wives wake up to a snap of Bosh and Wade eating breakfast. Then another eating lunch. Then another getting foot massages. Then another from dinner.
“They will literally be together all day on the road,” Adrienne said.
Sometimes, that time together even includes a couple of hours on a basketball court. Bosh and Wade, Miami Heat teammates for nearly six seasons, will be Eastern Conference All-Star teammates Sunday for an 11th time, though Bosh won’t participate because of a calf injury. Instead, he will be watching his friend, a day after co-hosting a charity bowling tournament, with many collaborations certain to come. That’s how strong their bond has become.
“I’ve had a lot of teammates, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of them,” Wade said. “But certain guys come through that are lifelong friends, for whatever that reason is.”
He mentions Quentin Richardson, Dorell Wright, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers.
“And CB is one of them,” Wade said. “The ones that you talk to, come to your house, you spend time with them. Some guys, they’re lifers in your life.”
Bosh breaks it down simpler.
“He’s just a cool guy,” Bosh said. “I’m a cool guy, too. So it’s easy company.”
Three was company for four years but, three can also get crowded and complicated. Yes, James, Wade and Bosh were characterized as a Big Three when they came together in Miami in 2010. And yes, Wade and Bosh, who shared an agent, were already friendly. But Wade and James were something else entirely.
“You can’t even classify them as friends,” Gabrielle said. “They’re like … twins. Like, they’re not even fraternal twins. They’re identical twins, that have their own language and an unspoken language. Chris was always sort of a part of the mix, but it’s like being the siblings of twins.”
Wade acknowledges that, at the start, “Chris was kind of off to himself.”
Gabrielle says all three members of the Big Three grew after the 2011 NBA Finals loss to Dallas, when “everyone just kind of went through this massive metamorphosis” and “kind of re-evaluated their lives.” Bosh and Wade, in particular, began to grow closer, spending more time over at each other’s houses and connecting on non-basketball subjects, such as fatherhood, even their respective custody battles. Wade started to get “a better understanding of who Chris is,” and “started liking the person that I knew that a lot of other people didn’t know.”
Yet the truly transformative change occurred during the summer of 2014 when, after four Finals appearances and two championships, Wade’s other hoops half split for Cleveland, while he and Bosh re-signed in Miami.
“When Bron left, it’s like one twin leaves for college, and then the other brother having a chance to have a different kind of relationship,” Gabrielle said. “This just gave Chris and D a chance to breathe and evolve.”
She characterized Bosh, with his unique “worldview,” endless curiosity and eclectic tastes, as “dramatically different from anyone in Wade’s life, aside from just teammates. There’s no one that I’ve ever met in his life, family, friends from school, any teammate from Marquette, through the Heat. There’s no one. Nobody. Not even close. I don’t think there’s any single person who has moved the dial as much on his personal development. He’s gotten D to grow in ways that I don’t think he ever anticipated. And if the Big Three had stayed together, I don’t know if he would have evolved the way [Bosh’s] friendship has allowed him to evolve.”
Bosh acknowledges that James leaving tied him tighter to Wade. “Yeah, for sure, because we suffered together,” Bosh said. “Suffering. The highs and lows, man. You see different sides of dudes. We’ve seen each other at our best. And he’s seen me in the hospital.”
That happened in February 2015, when Bosh — continuing to feel pain in his side during a post-All-Star getaway to Haiti with the Wade couple — was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung. Most of their time together, however, hasn’t been quite so serious. Wade says he’s always laughing when he’s with Bosh. He also appreciates that Bosh, like himself, cares little how others view him.
“He’s different, and that’s a good thing,” Wade said. “You don’t want everybody to be the same. The conversation is intriguing. He challenges you into a different way of thinking, which is cool.”
Wade has accepted many challenges. For instance, food. Gabrielle says that, when she and Wade aren’t raiding the more-stocked Bosh house for it, they’re letting the Bosh couple pick restaurants. That’s because, as Gabrielle admits, “if it was up to me and D, we would be at Chili’s or Red Lobster every day,” and the Bosh couple is more adventurous, with Chris serving as the primary taste-tester, and Adrienne usually ordering for Wade because of their similar palates.
When it’s just Bosh and Wade on the road?
Wade used to just go to the old standbys with James.
Now he has learned to trust.
“I don’t think that happened overnight,” Adrienne said, laughing.
It certainly wasn’t comfortable for Wade, adamantly anti-seafood until trying fish a couple of years ago, to trust Bosh in New Orleans. To take the plunge for oysters. Bosh deemed it his duty. “I’m like, OK, you gotta try it,” Bosh said. “I’m not gonna lie to you, man. Because I know what people did for me. To me, you experience things, it opens up your mind, you’re smarter. ‘I know what oysters taste like.’ A little smarter.”
Bosh did warn Wade not to try them everywhere. Wade won’t. While he called it “big for me’’ that he’ll always sample something new with the Boshes, “it’s with them. It’s not with anyone else.” The same is true for beer. Wade has never been much of a drinker, only recently taking a social and business interest in wine, but he’s knocked back a few with Bosh, who brews his own, and has become passionate about pub-crawling.
“It’s introduced me to a whole different crowd,” Bosh said. “People you don’t think you’d talk to. Tattoos and earrings this big. The total hipster. It’s crazy. I’m this tall black dude, athlete. It’s great. It’s done so much for me, and I just want to give people that same feeling.”
The Bosh couple also got their friends to expand their musical horizons last summer, dragging them to an electronic dance music (EDM) festival. “By the time we left, D decided that he wanted to be an EDM [disc jockey], talking about DJ equipment, how he wanted to start off with small gigs around Miami,” Gabrielle said, through laughter. “And that is all Chris and Adrienne.”
While DJ D-Wade hasn’t started spinning records yet, it isn’t out of shyness. Adrienne Bosh believes Wade’s extroverted personality has profoundly impacted her husband. She says Chris “can be kind of reserved at the beginning” especially around those he doesn’t know, but is less so when Wade is with him, “because D is very social.”
“I think he’s made Chris more open to the hang,” Gabrielle said. “If anything, D has sort of brought Chris into the crew. Whether that be Thanksgiving with Carmelo [Anthony] and LaLa. Or vacation with some of our other friends. Or dinners in L.A., where we bring our friends over their house. Chris has recognized that there are way more people like him out there than what the NBA would suggest. And that there’s a place and a space for him to be exactly who he is, and to be loved and to be liked and revered and respected.”
Gabrielle sees them as “empowering each other” in terms of speaking up and out, whether on team or world matters. Bosh sees attributes in Wade that he’d like to emulate, including training discipline (“he’s the hardest worker”) and branding during his basketball career (“he’s always been pretty forward-thinking”), with the latter evident with Wade’s packed schedule during All-Star weekend.
“I think Chris looks up to him in a sense, how non-stop he is, how business-oriented he is,” Adrienne said, noting how Bosh has accompanied Wade to meetings. “Chris isn’t to the point where he’s as focused on it as D, but he definitely sees himself going there.”
There were concerns about how long Bosh’s career would go, around this time last year. Adrienne called Wade’s support “a big part” of Bosh’s recovery, whether visiting after a road trip, or sending frequent texts, mostly because “D is someone Chris is open to talking to,” telling him how much it hurt, or how worried he was. “I don’t think there are that many people other than his family he would have been comfortable enough to discuss anything with,” Adrienne said. “D is definitely more like family to us at this point.”
Families share everything. Like the Ms. Pac-Man machine in the Wade house. Bosh had made a habit of stopping by, in the wee hours, but now he has his own. Gabrielle believes he’ll be back, since “having the high score at home is not the same as having the high score at the Wade house. And that’s the kind of competitor he is.”
Families share bigger goals, too. Gabrielle says it would be “huge” to win another championship together, not just for “basketball or LeBron reasons.”
“I think who they were as men, as husbands, as fathers, as businessmen, when they won first, or won last, is so dramatically different,” she continued, noting that the personnel is different too, without trusted veterans Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller. “What they would have to do to accomplish that would be so herculean, would not be lost on the men they are today.”
It won’t be easy getting the Heat as close to a title as its two All-Stars already are to each other.