CHICAGO — Dwyane Wade took another step in a new journey when he donned a Chicago Bulls jersey for the first time in a game in Monday night’s 93-91 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
After 13 seasons representing the Miami Heat, Wade, who grew up in the Chicagoland area, took pride in the fact that PA announcer Tommy Edwards introduced the Marquette alum as being from “Chicago, Illinois.” Wade, who was the first Bulls’ starter introduced, soaked up all the good vibes in the United Center in his debut.
“It’s great,” Wade said after scoring six points in almost 12 minutes of action, all in the first half. “It’s great to get out there in front of the fans for the first game. And for me to be here, my first moment, getting that starting lineup [introduction], being called, and to hear, “from Chicago, Illinois,” that felt great. So all in all, overall good for us, and there’s a lot of things that the coaches can teach us on, and we will learn.”
Wade and his teammates know they have a lot of work to do to get the group playing at a higher level, but Wade seemed pleased that he made his first two shots — both 3-pointers. The All-Star guard was just 7-for-44 from beyond the arc during the 2015-16 regular season, and he understands he is going to have to shoot the 3-ball more in Fred Hoiberg’s offense.
“I’ve been working a lot with coach,” Wade said. “Fred has been working me a lot after practice on my 3s, so I was like, ‘Why not?’ See where the first one goes. But just within the offense right now, everybody’s trying to find their way. We’re trying to get comfortable with the offense, so you’ve got to find your spots. Those were my two opportunities [from beyond the arc], and for the first two to go down, that’s pretty good. So that means I’ve got a couple more in the chamber for next game that I can shoot.”
Hoiberg, who has repeatedly praised Wade for the leadership he is bringing to the young Bulls team, was happy about the 34-year-old’s performance.
“I thought Dwyane was good,” Hoiberg said. “I thought he played with great energy. We wanted to keep his minutes right around 10-12, and I think we accomplished that, so [he] went there, showed what he can do, showed how hard he’s been working on his 3-ball, stepped right up and knocked down his two 3s. He gives us a great presence out there, he’s a guy that can take it to the rim and get fouled and get to the free-throw line. Obviously, a great veteran player that our young guys can learn from.”
For his part, Wade appears intent on shutting the book on his time in Miami and starting fresh in Chicago.
“I’m just trying to come in and do what I need to do,” Wade said. “I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on that I was going to have to put on a different uniform. When you get on the court, it’s basketball. I’m not looking down at the jersey at all. More so trying to do what I can. I’ve closed the chapter [on Miami], I’m in this new chapter, and I’m looking forward to how this chapter is going to unfold.”