On Monday, two basketball legends — and close friends — played each other for the last time.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade faced off once more before the latter retires at the season’s conclusion, according to ESPN. The Lakers won the game 108 to 105 in L.A.
James and Wade, who were both drafted in 2003, have been both teammates and opponents on the court over the course of their famed careers, according to CBS Sports. The game marked their 31st match-up on opposing teams, Sports Illustrated reported.
The athletes had nothing but praise for each other after the hard-fought game.
“It’s bittersweet, man,” James said in a joint interview on ESPN. “A lot of emotions going on right now for me just knowing I’m losing a brother in this game. … There’s no better way than to end in the Staples Center, man. This is my guy, man. This is my guy.”
“It’s tough,” Wade agreed. “This is what you play for, playing against one of the greatest players ever. Whether we was teammates, whether we was opponents, we brought the best out of each other. I’m just thankful that I had the opportunity to be able to be drafted at the same time as this guy. The friendship that we have, you guys know that’s beyond basketball.”
“Not only is he one of the greatest players, [he’s] one of the greatest people. What he’s done on and off the court, it’s just second to none,” Wade continued, nodding to James’ philanthropy. “This guy can play for as long as he wants, and I’ll be here to see it.”
On Monday, James shared a video of his and Wade’s heads superimposed on a Bad Boys II clip in which a character says, “We ride together. We die together. Bad boys for life.”
“Current mood,” James wrote alongside the footage. “Until the wheels fall [the] f— off @dwaynewade. Beyond death! P.S. @willsmith @martinlawrence appreciate letting us flex this clip!”
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“My G!” Wade commented. “You already know….”
On Tuesday, Wade shared pictures on Instagram of the two posing with the other’s jersey, competing against one another on the court and sharing a hug.
“What. A. Night,” Wade captioned the slideshow. “Games and atmospheres like last night is what I’ll miss most about playing this game. Thank you to the @lakers organization for that amazing tribute video! What better stage for my brother and I to end it on. #onelastdance”
Wade previously posted an Instagram to offer gratitude to James and Udonis Haslem. “Man how lucky am i!? These are my brothers!!!” he wrote.
“@ud40 and @kingjames thank you both for making me a better player, person, leader and man! I love you both like a fat kid loves cake! #onelastdance #brotherhood,” he continued.
The game had a star-studded audience, with Jessica Alba, Future, Kevin Costner, Kate Beckinsale, Denzel Washington and Will Ferrell all attending, according to TMZ.
Wade’s wife Gabrielle Union, with whom he welcomed daughter Kaavia James in November, sat with Alba.
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