The greatest athlete in the history of South Florida sports history returned to his house last night, and what a night it was. For one evening, at least, all was back to normal along the bay. Dwyane Wade was back on the Miami Heat's floor for a home game, and the crowd chanted his name and cheered him on.
Wait, that's not right at all.
Wade scored 13 points and missed 12 of 17 shots in the Chicago Bulls' 98-95 win over the Heat in Wade's much-anticipated emotional return to the American Airlines Arena, but the score and points scored were the least important takeaways from the night's festivities.
From the minute Wade entered the arena, he was met with open arms and universal applause.
During a break in the first quarter, the Heat played a touching video tribute for Wade that recounted so many of his uncountable memorable moments with the franchise for which he played his first dozen years in the NBA. The video was heavy on charitable work Wade performed in Miami, memorable highlights over the years, and championship moments from 2006, 2012, and 2013.
As far as the game itself, Wade was his old self at times, and at other times he was literally his old self. Early in the second quarter, he drove to the hoop and pulled off a vintage Wade up-and-under layup on which he was fouled. Wade gave his classic "count it" gesture to the fans who have grown accustomed to seeing his subdued celebrations over the years.
Fans, as expected, were all over the place during the game. Really, there is no good way to react to watching the best player in the history of Florida sports return to your arena while wearing the enemy's colors — especially when the payoff for losing said superstar legend was signing guys like Luke Babbitt. One fan even rushed the court while wearing a T-shirt asking Wade to come home.