Miami Heat

Here are more details on how the Big 3 came together for the Heat in 2010

Miami Heat fans welcome the three kings

Miami welcomes the three kings of the Miami Heat as Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh join the NBA team in a spectacular show at AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday July 9, 2010.
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Miami welcomes the three kings of the Miami Heat as Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh join the NBA team in a spectacular show at AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday July 9, 2010.

The story of how the Big 3 came together in Miami is one that continues to be told in bits and pieces.

The short story is the Heat created a bunch of cap space for the summer of 2010, and took advantage of it when Chris Bosh and LeBron James decided to join Dwyane Wade in Miami. But there’s a longer story in there of how that all came together, and it continues to be told through different voices.

Wade recently joined the Knuckleheads podcast with former NBA players Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, and spoke about the moment James brought up the possibility of playing together.

“I sit here with you guys and I promise, I never thought me and LeBron would play together,” Wade said to Richardson and Miles. “I remember going to my agent’s office and he was like, ‘Yo, LeBron and Leon [Rose] — at the time that was his agent — they want to get on a call with us.’ I’m like, ‘OK.’

“I remember talking to Bron and he was like, ‘Where’s your head at?’ I said, ‘My head is in winning, where’s your head at?’ He was like, ‘Same thing, let’s rock together.’ I’m like, ‘Cool! Let’s do it.’”

It’s clear Wade and James considered the Bulls and Knicks before choosing the Heat. One of the reasons Miami won the sweepstakes is because it had enough cap space for three max players, so it was also able to sign Bosh along with Wade and James.

“When we were trying to make a decision of what city we wanted to play in or what we wanted to be, we had to keep our options open,” Wade said to Richardson and Miles. “Chicago was on top of both of our lists. They had two max contracts and they had a young [Derrick] Rose. They had a Luol Deng, they had [Joakim] Noah, they had all these pieces. So I’m like, ‘In Chicago, in one of the biggest markets?’

“But listen, then we looked at New York. And when it came down to it, Miami was the only team with enough money to get all three of us. Every other team only had two [max contracts]. When it came down to it, we thought CB was the perfect match. And ultimately bro, I just wanted to win.”

In a first-person essay for The Players’ Tribune released Thursday, Bosh went into detail about his free agent meeting with the Heat in the summer of 2010. He started off by dispelling the notion the Big 3 made the decision to team up during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Instead, Bosh wrote that a meeting with Heat president Pat Riley helped push him toward Miami.

“Pat comes in. Everyone’s quiet,” Bosh wrote in his first-person essay for The Players’ Tribune. “We shake hands and sit down. With the other teams, the pitches all took a similar format: They’d show their PowerPoint, swipe through some photos on an iPad. You know, like: Here you are in a photoshopped Nets uniform. [Swipe.] Or, Here you are on a giant photoshopped poster in front of the United Center. [Swipe.] That whole deal.

“With Pat, though, it’s not about any PowerPoint thing, or any iPad thing. It’s about a Pat thing.”

Even nine years later, Bosh vividly remembers that meeting.

“It’s dead silent in the room when he starts into his pitch,” Bosh wrote. “You know — at first I thought maybe it was strange, because every other presentation had been from a coach. I didn’t really know how to take that. But then I’m looking at [Erik Spoelstra], and I’m looking at Andy [Elisburg] … and they’re just kind of … I’m not even sure how to explain it. It’s like they’re sitting there, listening to him — but not in some fake deferential way. Like in a good way. A respect way. It’s a respect thing.

“Pat goes, ‘All right, Chris — let me tell you something. I’ll make it simple.’ He says the Heat have enough cap space to bring in me and LeBron, and also to keep Dwyane. Then he takes off his suit jacket, rolls up his sleeves, and empties something on the table. HAHA! It’s a straight-up bagful of championship rings. Rolling around on the conference table, right in front of us. And then Pat looks at me, looks at my dad, and he says, “This right here ... this is what it’s about, guys.”


For the second consecutive year, the Heat will participate in the Sacramento summer league circuit before playing in the Las Vegas Summer League.

The Heat’s schedule for the first of the two summer leagues has been released. Miami’s schedule in Sacramento: July 1 vs. Lakers at 9 p.m., July 2 vs. Kings at 11 p.m. and July 3 vs. Warriors at 3 p.m.

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.