Miami Heat: An open letter to Dwyane Wade

Apr 8, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) looks on against the Orlando Magic during the first half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) looks on against the Orlando Magic during the first half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade has decided to sign with the Chicago Bulls. In light of his departure, here is an open letter from a Chicago native who joined Heat Nation.

Dear Dwyane Wade,

Like you, I was born in Chicago, Illinois. Except I was also raised there. And still reside here today.

Like most Chicagoans, I was brought up a Chicago Bulls fan. I was at a Bulls game one night with my family and I met Toni Kukoc. To be honest, I do not remember much; I just know they were playing the Toronto Raptors and that they won. But regardless, Kukoc hugged me. I’m pretty sure he was injured, so he was not warming up with the team pre-game. In any case, after a hug and an autograph, I was on board. For a few years anyways, until other interests took over.

But then in 2008, Chicago drafted Derrick Rose. And my passion for not just the team but the sport, blossomed once again. Through closely following the Bulls season I started to notice other teams.

And I noticed the Miami Heat because of you.

I am sad that I was not invested during your days with Shaquille O’Neal. Of course I have since gone back and tried to re-live that era. But it is not the same.

Nevertheless, aside from watching Rose revive Chicago, I watched you go to work for Miami. And what a sight it was. You essentially carried the team on your back, and acted as though it was nothing. You put up numbers that many players only imagine. You accomplished goals that quickly made me realize what a legend you already were. And then, just like that, it was 2010.

I will be the first to admit I rolled my eyes over the idea of a “super team.” While I considered both you and LeBron James my favorite players, at the time, I was still a die-hard Bulls supporter. And I knew that when you two (and Chris Bosh) teamed up, it was over for Chicago. So I opposed the idea. I called it unfair. I wanted the league to shut it down.

But the Big Three was formed anyway. And within a year, I was on board. How could I not be? Watching the three of you out there was like a dream come to life. The speed. The fancy footwork. The passes. The plays. Between Bosh’s flick of the wrist, James’ dunks and your pump-fakes, I was hooked.

So hooked that I started to leave the Bulls behind.

Now, there are other reasons for that. But I found myself more and more immersed in the Heat culture, until I had fully transitioned over to what some called “the dark side.”

Many thought it was because of James, and hated me for it. And sure, it was amazing to have one of (if not the…) greatest player of all time on my side. But I knew the truth: it was you who got me there.

(As I type this, it is the first time I feel sadness over your decision to leave Miami. It is as if I myself forgot why I became a fan in the first place. Or maybe I was not trying to remember…)

People doubted my commitment to the organization once James left. But something strange happened: I found myself even more a part of the fan base than ever. Between 2014 and now, I have truly lived and breathed Miami Heat basketball. And it is all thanks to you.

A lot of players have passed through this league, but you are one-of-a-kind. And while I may not understand the choice you made, while I may think it is a mistake, while I do not support it…I do support you.

And at least I still have ties to you, through our hometown.

Just be careful over there, please. The in’s and out’s of Chicago’s front office are not pretty. Just ask Rose and Joakim Noah, two great guys whose souls were sucked out of them after years of being under said management.

(And if this is all a stepping stone to head over to the Cleveland Cavaliers and rejoin James, well even better. I would give anything to see you play together once more.)

So while I cannot leave Heat Nation behind, I will not forget about you either.

Expect me at the United Center next season, rooting for you. (Unless of course you are taking on Miami…)

Thank you for all that you have done for the Heat, and more than that, for basketball as a whole. And here is to continuing success with the Bulls, and whatever comes next. You may have slightly broken my heart, but that is the thing about true love: I will still be on your side anyways.

Forever a fan,