Messy Breakup Ends Epic Era for Dwyane Wade and Miami Heat

Wade heat lifer

HEAT LIFER

 

13 amazing years. 12 All Star seasons. 5 Finals. 3 rings.

We watched him grow from Flash to WoW. We watched the superstar emerge while almost singlehandedly carrying the Heat to greatness in 2006 (Game 3, anyone?). He convinced his super-friends to take their talents to South Beach, and we watched four of the most thrilling NBA seasons in recent memory.

But now Dwyane Wade is leaving Miami and going home to Chicago – not to chase rings, but to chase respect.

Since being drafted with 5th pick in 2003, Wade has been the face of the Miami Heat franchise, and the club’s all-time leader in games played, minutes, points, field goals, assists, steals and 2nd all time in blocks. Wade accounts for over 9% of the TOTAL points in Miami Heat history – and 100% of its championships.

Somehow, the expression “End of an Era” seems small.

From Dwyane Wade to Heat Nation:

Dear Miami,

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,

D. Wade

Although Heat Nation is certainly still reeling from the news, we can’t begrudge the man for wanting to work for a different company after 13 years in the same office, especially after things got acrimonious.

It has to suck to be the top employee in the company’s history but never treated as such, and especially not this summer. There was no “We Want Wade” campaign, no Miami-Wade County push, no sending Heat players to NY to woo him, no attention even paid to him until after Whiteside and KD did their thing. Pat Riley didn’t even call or meet with Wade during the offseason.

Wade was the personal embodiment of “Heat Lifer” and an unselfish player who sacrificed time and again for the betterment of his team. Imagine just how disrespected he must have felt to leave the city where he built his legacy.

The Heat, for their part, pride themselves on family, loyalty and taking care of its own, but apparently those ideals have a sell-by date.

It didn’t have to be this way, but breakups always suck. Now our favorite player leaves town to return “home” and play for the Bulls, the team he grew up idolizing.

Here’s Riley’s initial statement 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!”

It’s easy to play the blame game or scream about “Loyalty!” – but it’s obvious things got too ugly between Wade, Riley and the Arisons. Basketball might be entertainment to us fans, but to players and teams, it’s work and business. Riley’s words acknowledge the Heat know they insulted their superstar, but they felt that a mid-30s guard wasn’t worth tying up max dollars for multiple years.

Riley and the Arisons made a business decision – it’s that simple. Cold and practical, but simple. Wade still feels he’s a respect-demanding star (rightly so) and left for a club that will treat him accordingly.

The Heat (albeit passive-aggressively) were ready to move on. Dwyane Wade reluctantly moved on. Heat Nation isn’t there yet.

We have plenty of time to figure out if all parties made the correct decision in ending the relationship, but there is no denying it was a helluva historic HOF-worthy run for the 13 years the marriage lasted.

Dwyane Wade, the Heat Lifer, is a class act and will be missed.

Today is a sad day for Heat Nation, but I know I’m not alone in looking forward to the day when #3 is retired proudly and respectfully in the rafters of the AAA where it belongs.

This is, and always will be, Wade County.

Source: Dwyane Wade’s epic Miami story ends in messy breakup, says Dan Le Batard | Miami Herald

Source: Dwyane Wade writes letter to Miami fans after leaving Heat for Bulls | SI.com