Kobe Bryant’s sore back deprived the hoops world of his 20th head-to-head matchup with Dwyane Wade Tuesday night, but according to Wade, injuries can’t do anything to tarnish Bryant’s legacy.

Wade considers Bean as the greatest NBA player of his era, and says he always measured himself against the 20-year veteran throughout his own brilliant career.

The Heat took care of the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 101-88.

Per ESPN:

“I do feel — and I’ve said this before the last couple of years with LeBron [James], when he became the best player in our game — that Kobe Bryant is the greatest player of our era,” Wade said. “The Kobe Bryants aren’t around no more. There are good young players, but there will never be another Kobe. So every opportunity you get to [face him], you want to seize that moment.”

 

“You hear about the guy being down, struggling with his shot and going through all of those other things,” Wade said Monday. “But what I’ll always see is the guy who has dominated this game at his position for a long time, who performed at a high level for 20 years.”

 

Immediately after Heat-Lakers games the past few seasons, Wade often sought out Bryant for both advice on his mental approach to the game as well as to check on his injury rehab. After the Heat’s win in Los Angeles in January, Wade sent word from the Heat’s locker room to make sure Bryant didn’t leave Staples Center until the two had time to talk. A year earlier, Bryant hung out at the Heat’s arena long after the game for photos with Wade’s family. But don’t let the friendly ways fool you. […] “I mean, I broke the guy’s nose in the All-Star Game, for goodness sakes, and we’re still cordial,” Wade said of the 2012 game in Orlando, Florida, where matters grew heated as they defended one another. “He respects competitiveness. He knows I did it, but I wasn’t trying to. He’s a competitor. I’m competitive. We have that in common.”