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Dwyane Wade Opens Up About Winning The 2006 Championship With Shaquille O'Neal: "I Couldn’t Have Let This Opportunity Slide By."

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Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade

Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade is one of the best shooting guards that ever played the sport of basketball. He is well-known for winning two championships with LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2012 and 2013. However, even before that, he was already a champion. In 2006, Dwyane Wade won his first championship with Shaquille O'Neal.

Dwyane Wade has recently commented on the 2006 championship that he and Shaquille O'Neal won together when speaking on an episode of the Jalen Rose: Renaissance Man podcast. Wade stated that he knew had a chance to win it all alongside "one of the most dominant centers to ever play the game" and stated that he "couldn't have let this opportunity slide by".

In that era, if you don’t win championships, you’re not great. That’s the way it was portrayed.

I knew if I wanted to be on Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan level, I had to be considered a champion. And when I got my opportunity at 24-year-old, my third year in the NBA, with one of the most dominant centers to ever play the game, I knew that this was my chance. And I couldn’t have let this opportunity slide by.”

It was amazing to be able to finally complete something that’s been my dream my whole life. I had seen Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the locker room with the champagne. I finally got a chance to do it.

While Shaquille O'Neal wasn't as dominant in Miami as he was in Los Angeles, he still was an elite No. 2 option for Dwyane Wade. The duo notably never had any issues with one another during their stint together, as Shaquille O'Neal told Dwyane Wade that the Miami Heat were his team.   

It is clear that Dwyane Wade seized his opportunity in 2006, and that he was a true winner even at a young age. The winning culture that the Miami Heat are known for was built by him, and he is part of the reason that the Miami Heat have a reputation as a top-tier franchise.