When Wade left his longtime home with the Miami Heat after garnering 12 All-Star nods and three NBA titles for his hometown Bulls in 2016, the energy was different than he expected after years of playing in front of raucous crowds in the Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose era.
In a recent interview on Gilbert Arenas’ No Chill podcast, Wade reflected on his own expectations when he returned home.
“Playing in Chicago (while I was) in Miami, the crowd was just crazy,” Wade said. “I was like man it’s gonna be loud up in there.”
Unfortunately for Wade, his Bulls team found itself on the receiving end of the fan base’s frustrations.
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‘They Booed Us a Lot’
The 2016-17 Bulls struggled to build the chemistry needed to earn a high seed in the regular season. They ended the season 41-41 which was enough to earn the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Chicago won its first two games against the top-seeded Boston Celtics that postseason before Rajon Rondo suffered a thumb injury that derailed any chances of an upset in the first round.
Wade recalled the energy in the United Center, which often lacked the same enthusiasm he once witnessed — both as an opposing player on the Heat and in his childhood.
“It was a lot of games where I was I was like, ‘Where the crowd? come on,’ ” Wade said. “And they booed us a lot too. I was looking for different energy.”
“Only thing I would think about Chicago was the Bulls. All I remember is Jordan and Scottie and how amazing it was to play there and then play there as an opponent and how dope it was to go to United Center,” Wade added. “On the other side I was like ‘where the energy at why yall booing us, this wasn’t what I experienced. ‘”
Wade Explains What Landed Him in Chicago
Wade went on to explain how his arrival to Chicago was not the most meditated plan by him and the organization.
“I didn’t even plan to go to Chicago and they didn’t plan to have me,” he said. “It was just something that kind of got thrown together at the last minute.”
He shared the perspective of fans who were likely overestimating Wade’s ability at the age of 35.
“They were looking for something else from me but at the time I was an 18-point a game scorer — that’s what I gave y’all,” he said. ” (They were like) ‘we thought we was getting ’06 D Wade, we didn’t think we were getting 35-year-old D Wade. ‘”
Regardless, Wade cherished the opportunity to wear the same jersey of the stars he once idolized.
“But I had a good time and a good experience,” he added. “I’m just glad I got to live out that childhood moment.”
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