LeBron to D-Wade: Brothers for life

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PHILADELPHIA -- LeBron James sent a message Friday morning to teammate Dwyane Wade that acknowledged the Miami Heat guard's birthday and their uncertain future together after this season.

Wade turned 32 on Friday, and spent at least part of his night helping the Heat end a season-high three-game losing streak with a 101-86 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Wade awoke Friday to an Instagram post from James that included an extensive collage of photos of the two together that were taken on and off the court over various stages of their careers.

In the message, James writes about how far the two have come since their friendship began during the 2003 NBA pre-draft camp. James was taken by Cleveland as the No. 1 overall pick, and Wade was selected fifth by the Heat.

"I was more focused on our friendship and where life can take us, man," James said, explaining the birthday post before Friday night's game against Philadelphia. "That's what it comes down to. We're connected at the hip no matter where life takes us. And happy birthday to D-Wade."

The two became teammates with the Heat in 2010, after James left the Cavaliers as a free agent. Miami has since advanced to the NBA Finals three straight years and is the two-time defending champion.

James, Wade and center Chris Bosh, however, could opt out of their contracts after this season.

"I came to Miami for 2 reasons. To play with U and to win championships and I can't thank you u enough for the sacrifice you've made since I arrived homie!" James wrote in part of the birthday message to Wade. "No matter what happens in the future we stuck together like brothers for life."

James has declined to address his potential free agency since the opening day of training camp in October, when he said he hopes to keep winning championships in Miami but hadn't yet decided if he would opt out of his contract.

There has been speculation that James might consider a return to Cleveland, but James has offered few hints about his future.

"I'm the one guy that can't worry about my everyday comments or live everyday life on what other people think," James said before Friday's game. "That's the last thing I will do. I've been through this before. I've got to live my life every day, man. I can't worry about what people is going to say about some of the things I'm going to do, some of the things my family do."

Meanwhile, Wade has said he hopes to play his entire career in Miami and retire with the Heat.

Wade also has acknowledged how much of a challenge it has been at times to sacrifice his role as the leader of a franchise he led to a title in 2006 to make way for James' arrival.

The Heat are trying to become only the fourth NBA franchise to win three consecutive championships.

James addressed all he and Wade have accomplished together in the birthday message.

"Happy Bday to my running mate, homie, brother and most of all straight up friend!" James wrote at the beginning of the post. "The friendship we've created our rookie year at pre draft camp was pure and that's why we stuck together from that point on! Obviously didn't know we would eventually become teammates and do the things we've done so far."

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