The Kobe-Wade connection was always strong

They shared a trainer, Tim Grover, and sometimes quarreled over his time.

They shared a position, shooting guard, though Kobe Bryant was at least three inches taller.

They shared a legacy, of championships, glamour, travails and more.

They shared a willingness to explore the globe, especially China, to expand their brands.

They shared an intense love of their children.

But mostly, Bryant — who passed away Sunday in a helicopter crash — and Dwyane Wade shared respect.

I wrote about their mutual admiration in 2016, during Bryant’s last season, via an lengthy interview with Wade for 

This was the passage I found most interesting:

You’ve talked about Kobe being the ‘bar’ for you. In what ways do you feel like you’ve reached it?

DW: I don’t know. I mean, how I look at it is this: when I came into the league, obviously [Michael] Jordan was my idol, and he was gone. But Kobe was that bar for me, to say, OK, he’s the ultimate two-guard in this league, and I need to get there. And I felt at some point in my career, I reached that, where I was battling him. Any given night, I could be the best two-guard in the league, or he could be the best two-guard in the league, but we were going at it. And from the standpoint of his success and what he did before I came in, and winning all the championships, etc., he had me on that. But season to season, I felt like I was looking at him eye to eye some nights, and some years. And so I don’t know at the end of the day how it shakes out from that standpoint. Obviously, to me, and I haven’t seen all the players play live — but biased, I think he’s the second-best two-guard to ever play. And I think I’ve been in conversations to be from three to five. And to me, I’ve reached my bar from that standpoint, of trying to get to where he is, as one of the all-time greats at that position.

Whatever anyone else thought of Kobe — for whom petulance could be part of the package — his peers thought he was an all-timer, someone to emulate. Wade never, ever put himself above Bryant in the rankings, even though he outplayed Bryant in many of their encounters, including the breakout Christmas Day game in 2005, after Shaquille O’Neal had pushed himself away from Bryant to Wade.

That is Bryant’s basketball legacy, even if the family legacy is more important.

The basketball legacy is the way those in the game reacted to him.

Even those who weren’t in the game yet, like Wade’s heir apparent at two-guard in Miami, Tyler Herro::

Here are some tweets that brought back memories:

And here’s a tribute from South Florida, which is supposed to be celebrating Super Bowl LIV:

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