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Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

In his 20 NBA seasons, Kobe Bryant has faced a number of brilliant players: vets near the end of their careers, such as Karl Malone and John Stockton; fellow stars who entered the league around his time, such as Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett; newer standouts such as Dwyane Wade and Stephen Curry.

None of those made his top five "toughest players to face" list. As relayed by our own Baxter Holmes, here it is:

Michael Jordan? No surprise. LeBron James? Not really either. Kevin Durant? When he's healthy, he's electric. And Hakeem Olajuwon? There's a reason they call him The Dream. The biggest surprise, perhaps, is Clyde Drexler -- but no one is about to claim he wasn't great.

The key point is the second thing Bryant told Holmes: It is hard to choose a top five from 1996 to 2015.

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SportsNation, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat

Mario Chalmers might not be on the Miami Heat anymore, but that doesn't mean the guard -- traded last week to the Memphis Grizzlies after seven seasons and two titles in South Florida -- is forgotten.

Look at Monday night. Chalmers broke out (29 points on 13 shots in 23 minutes of a 122-114 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder), and after a big 3-pointer, Dwyane Wade chimed in, unprompted, on Twitter.

Then, proving he wasn't just having a good time watching an animated movie about macaws with his kids, Wade sent this one out after the game:

Teammates for life.

Tags:

NBA, NBA, Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat

While they were both with the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James -- like many teammates throughout the league do -- created their share of elaborate handshakes.

Even though LeBron is gone, Wade hasn't stopped with these creative displays of dap. He doesn't restrict them to the basketball court, either.

As revealed by actress Gabrielle Union on a recent "Conan" appearance (and briefly seen in their full wedding video released in September) she and her husband punctuated their nuptials with a handshake of their own:

As a bonus, Union revealed to Conan O'Brien that Chris Bosh is basically Kramer to Wade and Union's Jerry Seinfeld, all because the couple have a "Ms. Pac-Man" game in their house.

"He's addicted," Union said. "He lives a few doors down, and like 2 a.m. [the doorbell will ring and I'll say], 'Is it Chris? ... Is it Chris Bosh?' ... He'll be at the front door, wanting in, to get on the game."

No word on if Bosh punctuates his visits with this handshake.

Tags:

NBA, NBA, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

The Miami Heat, no matter what a certain star once said, do not play on South Beach.

Still, it's hard to separate the NBA franchise and the neighborhood that's just a causeway away. So, as posted to owner Micky Arison's Instagram account this week, the team is considering these vibrantly colored uniforms -- in some capacity -- which would fit right in on Collins Avenue:

That color scheme look familiar? Many have noticed its similarity to the "Miami Vice" TV show's logo, but it doesn't stop there. The Washington Post noticed that a number of Reddit users have proposed "Miami Vice" theme nights, with one creating the uni design that Arison ultimately shared.

Who knows what will come of these (this writer would offer a "Yes" vote), but it does seem Arison is feeling the "Miami Vice" nostalgia, so ...

#TBT 25 yrs since MiamiVice next year will be 10 since ur @MiamiHEAT 1st Championship @DwyaneWade @SHAQ

A photo posted by Micky Arison (@mickyarison) on

Tags:

NBA, NBA, Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris BoshAl Diaz/Miami Herald/Getty Images

According to a source, Dwyane Wade has decided not to pick up his option with the Miami Heat for 2015-16, thus becoming a free agent.

This is a big move for the man who inspired "Wade County," and money supposedly is behind it. Wade stood to make $16.1 million next season, but he is said to want a three-year deal with an average salary of at least $16 million. The Heat, meanwhile, prefer to maintain future flexibility.

Wade is no longer the player he once was; his play, while still very good, has fallen off, and he has missed at least 20 regular-season games in three of the past four seasons.

Still, Wade surely knows he's an 11-time All-Star, won the 2006 NBA Finals MVP for what former ESPN analyst John Hollinger called the best Finals performance of all time ... and yet, he has never been the highest-paid player on his own team.

Per ESPN Stats & Info:

Will Wade buck this trend? That's to be seen. If he stays with the Heat, he'll once again be behind Bosh (due about $22.2 million next season). But as 2015 free agency begins, more than half the league is without a player who makes $16 million per year.

So it's possible ...

Tags:

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA

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