In his first game against the Miami Heat, since joining the Chicago Bulls, Dwayne Wade notched 13 points, 7rebounds and 4 assists in a 98-95 win for the Bulls.
“Worst basketball game I ever played in my life,” Wade said with a chuckle. “I couldn’t wait until it was over. It’s just weird. You’re going against guys — it just seemed like we were just playing in the playoffs together.
“Just a good environment though, man. The fans were great. I appreciate the ovation, the cheers. The things that they were saying, I appreciate it all. But the game itself was weird.”
The shooting guard spent 13 years with the Heat and spoke about how much he needed to win the game. He struggled to find his rhythm throughout the night, but his free throws helped secure the win with 13.7 seconds left on the clock.
He received multiple standing ovations, with one coming during the player introductions, with fans cheering his name. Another after a tribute video was played at the end of the first quarter.
Wade, who sat quietly at the end of the bench as the video played, walked back onto the floor after the video ended and blew kisses to the crowd. Fans continued cheering and chanting “D-Wade! D-Wade!”
“It was more so seeing so many familiar faces that you’ve been seeing for years sitting in certain seats,” Wade said. “People that before certain games like to give you eye contact, like to do their own ritual with you … that was probably the thing that was the weirdest, being on the other side of the lens. The video was cool but we were already in the game.
“I’m glad [this game] is over with. When I first looked at the schedule, I was like why so early? I’m glad it’s over early so we can focus.”
After the game ended, Wade shook hands with former teammates and Heat personnel. He walked off the floor to loud cheers with a sign in the stands just above him that read: “This will always be Wade County.”
“Probably the most emotional I got was at the end of the game when I went around and hugged certain people,” Wade said. “Just to see the people that I call family. That was probably one of the most emotional moments for me.”