Dwyane Wade is from Robbins, Illinois, but he had made his true impact as a professional basketball player in Miami, Florida.
As arguably the best player in Miami Heat history, Wade turned Dade County into “Wade County,” leading the Heat to three NBA titles. His most notable time as a member of the Heat came during the first of those title runs in 2006 where Wade, almost single handedly, led the Heat past the Dallas Mavericks to secure the first championship in team history. In the series, he averaged 34.7 points/game, 7.8 rebounds/game and 3.8 assists/game — basically doing it all for the Heat.
Add to that two more championships and 13 plus years of All-Star, future Hall of Fame production, and you have someone who will always be cemented in Miami Heat history, someone who truly believed he would spend his entire career in the city of Miami.
This past offseason, things took a different turn. As Wade approaches his 35th birthday, Heat President Pat Riley decided that the team was going younger and that Wade wasn’t worth the money he was expecting.
Insert the Chicago Bulls, Wade’s hometown team, the team he grew up idolizing. The Bulls saw the opportunity and jumped right on it, picking up the 12- time All Star in free agency for a two- year contract worth $47.5 million, an amount the Heat were unwilling to pay.
The drastic change brings Wade to where it all started, and although things will be different, he looks at his return home as business as usual, much like a veteran in this game should:
Via K.C. Johnson/ Chicago Tribune: “I put that book away. Next time I open that book will be Nov. 10,” Wade said, alluding to the Bulls’ first trip to Miami. “Right now, my job is to focus on being my best Dwyane Wade here in Chicago at the tender age of 34, bringing something to this team, organization and city. And it’s no pressure on me because my expectation of myself will always be higher than outside expectations.”
During his first game as a Bull and the Bulls first preseason game of the season on October 3rd versus the Milwaukee Bucks, Dwyane handled his business like usual, scoring 6 points in 12 minutes off of two three pointers. He looked fluid and comfortable playing alongside new backcourt mates Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo (another Bulls free agency addition) and hopes to continue to feel that way as the regular season begins in a couple of weeks and reality starts to set in.
This reality will not only consist of adjusting to a new team with two other all- star players like Rondo and Butler, but most importantly, it will consist of understanding the magnitude of coming back to play for your hometown team and being the hometown hero that your city expects to take them over the top.
Wade has witnessed his best friend, LeBron James successfully bring his hometown team a championship this past season, now, he and the entire city of Chicago believe that it’s his turn to do the same.
Heroes are always welcome.
Do you believe that Wade coming home to a new look Chicago Bulls squad will put them over the top of the East? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3