It doesn’t take a degree in advanced statistics to know LeBron James will be in the Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible. On Sunday, however, the list of James’ former NBA teammates enshrined in Springfield, Massachusetts, just doubled. The first was Shaquille O’Neal, inducted in 2016. Next was Ray Allen, a member of the class of 2018.
Both Ben Wallace and Chris Bosh were among the nine players and coaches selected for the 2021 induction ceremony on Sept. 11, per NBA.com. But the inclusion of Bosh marks a significant change from the other three legends who played with LeBron. In his prime, Bosh teamed with James to win two NBA titles with the Miami Heat in the early 2010s.
That is a claim none of the others can make.
Wallace joined LeBron James in Cleveland
With his selection to the Hall of Fame, Ben Wallace is now the Hall of Famer to team up with LeBron James the soonest. At the 2008 trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Wallace in a three-team deal with the Chicago Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics (ah, yes, I remember them well). Wallace came with former No. 1 overall pick Joe Smith from the Bulls, while Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West joined the club from Seattle.
Wallace finished 2007–08 and played all of 2008–09 with James and the Cavaliers, but the group came up short. They lost to the eventual champion Boston Celtics in the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals and fell to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.
In the summer of 2009, Wallace was part of the trade package for the next Hall of Famer, O’Neal, who was with the Cavaliers for the 2009–10 campaign. After that season, James was off to team up with another Hall of Famer (and a future one).
The Big Three Era dawns in Miami
In the summer of 2010, LeBron James made his much-ballyhooed “Decision” to sign with the Miami Heat as a free agent. He was part of a package deal, joining forces with Heat All-Star Dwyane Wade and Toronto Raptors standout Chris Bosh on South Beach. Wade was returning to Miami, and it gave the Heat three of the top five picks from the legendary 2003 draft class.
The group made four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, joined in 2012–13 by free agent Ray Allen. With James, Wade, and Bosh doing much of the heavy lifting, the Heat won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. They lost to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 and the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.
At the end of that four-year run, James returned to the Cavaliers as a free agent. He signed with the Los Angeles Lakers after the 2017–18 season following four more consecutive NBA Finals appearances. James is one of just five players in NBA history to play in at least eight straight Finals, along with former Celtics Frank Ramsey (eight), Tom Heinsohn (nine), Sam Jones (nine), and Bill Russell (10).
Lots of star power joined LeBron James in international play
LeBron James has had other noteworthy teammates while playing with USA Basketball. His first appearance with the men’s senior team came in 2004 as a 19-year-old at the Athens Olympics. The bronze medalists also featured Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson. Bosh was a teammate at the 2006 FIBA World Championships in Japan.
The “Redeem Team” at the 2008 Beijing Olympics featured Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd, while Bryant was also part of the gold-medal-winning U.S. team in London at the 2012 Olympics. James has not played with USA Basketball since going to London.
Those international teams also featured several players with at least a fighting chance for enshrinement in Springfield after their careers. That group includes Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Carmelo Anthony (another 2003 draft gem), Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Joe Johnson, and current Lakers teammate Anthony Davis.