Wade, in an interview with Bleacher Report, has new priorities, new teammates and a new perspective after James left this offseason to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Me and LeBron, I'd go to Cleveland, we'd go to the movies," Wade told the website of their relationship before James joined the Heat. "He'd come here, we'd hang out. And then we'd go on the court, and we'd compete. And then after the game, that's my boy.
"Then we got here, we teamed up, became even closer. And now it's the same thing. You know, we're still gonna be friends, and we're still gonna compete our ass off, until the day we can't compete no more."
Wade, a 10-time All-Star, has a fresh outlook entering his 12th season with the Heat as he'll be surrounded by fresh faces. The goal, however, is still the same: Get to the playoffs.
But this time, he wants to savor the journey a little more.
"We went to the Finals four years in a row, and it was everything we wanted from that standpoint," Wade told Bleacher Report. "But sometimes throughout that run at certain times, it just wasn't fun.
"I think now I'm at the point where I want to enjoy the game. Because once I've won three championships and been so successful, you've got to have something to play for. And I want to be able to play for my teammates and just the joy of the game."
Wade said that joy was missing last season as the Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals -- Wade's fifth.
"You know, we're still gonna be friends, and we're still gonna compete our ass off, until the day we can't compete no more."Dwyane Wade, on LeBron James
"We wanted it," Wade told Bleacher Report. "... But sometimes you can put too much on yourself, all of us, and it becomes a black cloud. Last year wasn't fun. I mean, there was no stretch of it fun. That whole season, to me, it's amazing we made it to the Finals. It's just honest."
Wade, however, said that vibe no longer exists as he returns to being the sole face of the franchise.
"Just this year, coming in, I can see, even the coaches, there's just a different renewed focus and energy," Wade told Bleacher Report. "No one knows what it's going to lead to. No one knows if that's going to lead to a Finals win or Finals loss or not the Finals at all.
"But right now, it's good for everyone to come in every day and want to be here."
Even with James not by his side.
"Whether we are playing together or not, we're friends," Wade told Bleacher Report. "Me and Chris [Bosh], we all have our certain friends, no matter what the game of basketball brings or doesn't bring.
"Those are friends beyond. People are gonna try to make it something. But we're not really worried about it. We know what we have, who we are. We've never let it get in between our friendship."