In the summer of 2010, James andChris Boshjoined Wade in Miami. The Heat reeled off four straight NBA Finals appearances and won two championships before James returned to Cleveland as a free agent in July 2014.
However, the prospect of being reunited with Wade in the United Center isn't causing James to reflect on the Miami years just yet.
"I don't think I'm going to look back at the four-year run," James said after the Cavs' 113-94 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.
Wade spent 13 seasons with the Heat before signing with his hometown Bulls as a free agent in July.
"Anytime I see him, I don't even think about the time on the court," James said. "I think about the friendship and the camaraderie that we built over these last 14 years. We've got so many memories off the floor, and obviously, you guys know about what happened on the court. Those things are always going to be there. We know what we accomplished. We wanted to accomplish even more, but it's a new day, it's a new time, and I don't think I'm going to look back on [Miami] too much."
James will begrudgingly look back at the Cleveland Indians' World Series loss to the Cubs, which put him on the losing end of a wager with Wade. What does he owe him? Showing up to Friday's game in a Cubs uniform.
"Hat down to the pants, the socks," James said, later adding that he had to make sure he secured a form-fitting jersey so he wouldn't show up looking like CC Sabathia, the hefty New York Yankees pitcher.
"No, I'm not wearing cleats," James said, as if it was a ridiculous question considering the rest of his attire. "I got a basketball game to play. No glove. Just the uniform. I will be in uniform."
Wade was in a mood to reminisce, telling reporters Thursday that he had to change his game far more than James did when they played together.
"I think we both had to change things," James said when told of Wade's comments. "I think he sacrificed more of the load. He just came to me at one point -- I don't remember when it was -- he said, 'Listen, for us to reach our ultimate potential, you got to be you. You got to lead this team. I'm going to take a step backwards, but I'm here the whole ride.'
"For a guy who implemented his whole 'Wade County' and his whole career in Miami, to be able to do that, and for us to reach our full potential ... he seen something more than I did at that point in time," James continued. "He had already been to the mountaintop. I did a lot more catch-and-shoot in the corners, and a lot of cutting, learning how to cut, do the things that he was accustomed to doing, so I learned a lot from him as well."
James Jones and Chris "Birdman" Andersen, who played with Wade and James in Miami and now play with James in Cleveland, recognized the significance of the matchup.
"This game moves fast," Jones said. "And so, this game is built on eras. The game can change within four to five years. The style of play changes. The faces change. So it is time to reflect on it. It was a special time, and it was a point where the Miami Heat and that team, the Big Three, they dominated the NBA. That team ceases to exist. The players are still around, but they're not together. So the band is disbanded, and now it's the next music group coming up, to use a music term."
Andersen said of Wade: "It won't bring up emotions, but it will be good to see him, you know? ... But as far as playing against him, it's just being professional. I had to play against him in practice. I think D-Wade and LeBron were on the same team whenever we were in practice."
James, for the most part, downplayed things, claiming it's just another game against one of his friends who changed teams, as when Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony were traded in the past.
"It will probably be the same as when I saw C.P. in a Clipper uniform or Melo in a Knick uniform," James said. "You know, we all have decisions to make, and we've made our decisions across my career, and we've always supported each other. So it's going to be pretty cool, not only just because he's in a different uniform, but just him being back home and understanding what his journey is right now.
"And I think it's more than just basketball for himself, being back home in Chicago. We all know what's going on in Chicago right now as far as besides sports, so it's going to be pretty cool."
James did have one parting shot, however, about the outfit he'll be wearing in homage to the Cubbies:
"Don't make fun of me, guys."