After 13 seasons and three NBA titles with the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade made one of the toughest decisions of his life by leaving South Beach and heading back home to the Windy City, signing with the Chicago Bulls for two years and $47.5 million.
While Heat fans are furious with D-Wade—even burning his jersey as he jets out of town—the future Hall of Famer is forever grateful for the memories he had, penning a heartfelt letter to the city of Miami, per the Associated Press:
This has been an extremely emotional and tough decision to come to. After 13 years, I have decided to embark on a new journey with the Chicago Bulls. This was not an easy decision, but I feel I have made the right choice for myself and my family.
I started my NBA career with the Miami Heat in 2003 and it has been an honor to have played with them and help build a winning franchise with three NBA championships. I look back with pride and amazement at all we have accomplished together. I want to express my gratitude to the Arison family, Pat Riley, Coach Erik Spoelstra, the coaching staff, and the entire Miami Heat organization.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Miami community and especially #HEATNATION for all of their love and support over the years. It has been truly incredible. I am deeply moved and appreciative of the positive messages from my fans expressing that they want what’s best for me and I know they will support my decision. The memories including championship parades and five conference titles are incredible moments we have shared that will always remain close to my heart as I begin the next chapter of my life.
Growing up in Robbins, Ill., I never dreamed that an NBA career could have even been possible and that one day I would wear a Chicago Bulls jersey. Watching the Bulls growing up inspired me at an early age to pursue my dream of becoming a basketball player. My most treasured memories were watching my dad play basketball on the courts of Fermi Elementary School and developing my game at the Blue Island Recreation Center. I have never forgotten where I came from and I am thankful to have an opportunity to play for the team that first fueled my love of the game. Many of my family members still live in Chicago and I am excited to return home to a city very close to my heart.
I look forward to returning to my roots and to what lies ahead.
Much Love and Respect,
As someone who watched LeBron James bolt Cleveland in 2010 for greener pastures, I personally know the pain Miami fans are going through. But Wade was the city’s adopted son, so hopefully he gets the reception he deserves when returning next season for the first time.