Photo by Jeff Vorva
Let’s hope this works out.
Last week couldn’t have been a better week for former Richards High School basketball star Dwyane Wade.
On Wednesday, he was at Wrigley Field taking in the White Sox-Cubs game, on Thursday he was on stage in front of thousands at the Lollapalooza festival.
Then on Friday afternoon, the guy was finally formally introduced as a member of the Bulls at a slick 45-minute press conference at the Advocate Center in Chicago and it drew a couple of hundred people and was broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
A few seasoned media veterans said they couldn’t remember the last time a personnel-changing press conference drew this many so I am going to guess it was 1999 when Michael Jordan announced his second retirement at the United Center in front of 800 of us and told everyone he was going to be taking his kids to school while he was sporting a bandaged digit.
Oh, and Wade is featured prominently on a large lighted sign outside the United Center.
Wade, who grew up a Bulls fan, called it a “dream come true” to finally play in his hometown.
Dwyane Wade loves Chicago and Chicago loves Dwyane Wade.
Life is good.
I would love to tell you this guy is going to save the Bulls, average 26 points a game and maybe be an MVP as he, Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler lead the team to an NBA championship in a four-game sweep over Golden State.
Some might tell you that at age 34 (he will turn 35 in January) his best years are behind him after 13 years in Miami, he could spend a lot of time mending his body. Critic may say at $48.5 million for two years, he could be a huge bust.
I think the answer lies in between.
I see a guy who will be dazzling some nights, sluggish other nights and on the bench in a suit during some other nights. I see him making a dramatic game-winning shot or three as the Bulls win a series or two in the playoffs.
I also see a guy who may be of great value teaching some of the younger players on the team how to work, train and act like a superstar. The public image of this guy has been pretty clean over the years and he’s one of the few elite athletes who gets it. If young players listen to him and follow his example, they should have great careers.
"This is one of those moments that is a dream come true,” he said Friday. “Simply that. I'm a Chicago guy, a Chicago kid. I remember sitting on the floor and watching the Chicago Bulls win their first title. I was 9 years old, watching on an itty bitty TV like the size of an iPhone, and I said, 'That's what I want to do, that's who I want to be.'
"My dream of being an NBA player started here in my hometown. Took a long time to get here, but I'm here."
He said all the right things. He said this was Butler’s team (moments after saying it was really Jerry Reinsdorf’s team) and there won’t be any problems there. He says he has butted heads with Rondo in the past as opponents but loves having a guy who gives up the ball as a teammate so there shouldn’t be any problems there.
Wade did warn fans and media about expectations. He said until this team steps on the floor and started practicing, there is no way to tell how good or bad the Bulls will be. But he likes what he sees so far.
Chicago is a tough town and fans are going to demand that he performs well. Wade assures us all he still has something left in the tank.
Let’s hope so. It would be a shame if his “dream come true’’ becomes a nightmare.