In 2010, Miami was certain that Dwyane Wade would go home. The Chicago Bulls were riding high with a young Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and Wade was itching to return to Illinois. Burnie was even on suicide watch on a platform outside the AAA as the team begged Wade to stay. But he ignored the siren song of the Windy City, and then he brought two more championships to the 305.
This time, Chicago won out. D-Wade, arguably the most iconic athlete in Miami history, is leaving South Florida. Say it again, because it sounds so weird and bad and wrong: Dwyane Wade, Chicago Bulls player.
There'll be weeks of time to reflect on Wade's legacy and to celebrate everything he's done for the Miami Heat, but let's be honest. While much of the city wakes up this morning to learn he's taken the Bulls' $47 million, two-year deal, we all feel awful.
Even Hassan Whiteside, fresh off a max contract of his own, was left reeling:
Miami fans and pundits are literally in mourning.
I really wish I had some comforting words that could make everyone feel better but I just don't. It's a sad day in Miami.— Joy Taylor (@JoyTaylorTalks) July 7, 2016
Here's what Pat Riley himself had to say about Wade's departure, in a long text message sent to Dan Le Batard:
“SADDDDDDD!!!! SO saddddddd! I will never forget the sixth game in Dallas in 2006. DW rebounded the ball, and threw it to the heavens and the Heat universe was perfect for that moment. Our first world championship. Our universe is not perfect today. It will be fraught with anger, judgment, blame instead of THANK YOU!!! Ten years ago. Ten years older. Ten years wiser. Ten years changed. All of us. Dwyane had a choice, and he made it. He went home. Bad, bad summer for us. But there will be another 10 years, and it will be someone or something else in 2026. Move on with no blood or tears. Just thanks. I truly loved Dwyane, but families grow, change and get on with another life. He will always be a part of us. ALWAYS! And no more bruises and enough fighting. Let’s just fly above it if we can and never forget. I feel his pain and pride for what pushed him over the ledge. Been there. Forever, for always, your coach I will be. FOREVER!”
And yes, before you hear the national media gloating about it, apparently some idiot even filmed himself burning a Wade jersey:
Still, even in our moment of shock and rage, expect more Heat fans to pour one out for D-Wade than to pour gas on his jersey. Miami didn't freak out when LeBron left (ahem, Cleveland).
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Still, this one hurts much worse than LBJ for #HeatLifers who assumed they'd see Wade retire in the same black-and-red jersey in which he'd played his whole career. There's no getting around it. Are there any bright sides? Well, Wade didn't go to Cleveland!
Honestly...I'm super relieved it's not Cleveland. Obviously still hurts but that would have been a neutralizer.— Joy Taylor (@JoyTaylorTalks) July 7, 2016
That's cold comfort on a day like this. The best option, to be honest, is for Miami to pull out that bottle of aguardiente a little early and try to numb the pain until it all settles in.
D-Wade is gone.