Dwyane Wade spent one ill-advised season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not only did it ruin the last part of his career, but it also wrecked his relationship with then-teammate Kevin Love.
In late September of 2017, after being bought out by the Chicago Bulls, he signed with Cavaliers to chase one last ring alongside LeBron James. Wade initially started for Cleveland in the first three outings, but his shooting was atrocious and he was ultimately moved to the second unit.
In January of that season, the Cavs hit a particularly rough stretch. During it, an especially intense team meeting took place where Wade absolutely laid into Love for going home with an illness prior to the team’s 24-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder concluding and then missing practice the following day.
As recounted by NBA insider Joe Vardon at the time:
“It was Wade who first made an issue of it at Cavs practice Monday, challenging Lue to disclose where Love had been. Numerous players verbally attacked Love, who eventually explained his absence to the team as part of a wide-ranging, heated discussion in which virtually no one was immune from criticism.”
Eventually the Cavaliers decided to remake their entire roster at that year’s NBA Trade Deadline, ultimately sending Wade to the Miami Heat for a protected 2024 second-round draft pick.
This past week Wade appeared on the What’s in Your Glass? podcast hosted by Carmelo Anthony and revealed his regret at how that entire ordeal had gone down.
“I had an incident in Cleveland with Kevin Love where I didn’t know that he dealt with or suffered from any mental health issues,” he said.
“I was on him, because I’m an old dude trying to—this is my last ride to win a championship, and I didn’t know what he was dealing with mentally. So we had a very ugly incident as a team that happened that came out in the papers and all those things about it, and then once I left Cleveland, Kevin became more outspoken and became really a voice for mental health. And I didn’t have any idea.”
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
Wade acknowledged that there were still lingering bad feelings.
“Kevin Love may not like me as a person because of that moment,” he continued. “But if I ever got the opportunity to see him again, I’d just want to apologize to him because I didn’t know what he was dealing with, and I was just trying to say, ‘We need you, we need you,’ but I didn’t know that he was dealing with something that was so serious that I could not fathom or even know what he had to deal with.”
Although these days Wade is primarily known for posting salacious photos of his wife on social media and being a vocal trans advocate for his child, once upon a time he was only about basketball. And that singular focus on hoops manifested itself in intense competitiveness that led to his relationship with Love being severed.
Fortunately, it appears as though Wade has grown a lot over the last few years. Hopefully his rapport with Love is one day re-established now that both have had time to cool down since their infamous blow-up.