Dwyane Wade broke his silence.
Just hours after making his huge free-agent decision to leave the Heat and join the Bulls on Wednesday night, Wade served as a co-host on “Live with Kelly” on Thursday morning. The 12-time All-Star didn’t waste any time addressing Heat fans on national television.
“I just want to thank all my fans, we call it Heat Nation, just around the world,” Wade said less than five minutes into his appearance on “Live with Kelly.” “Just about the way they embraced me. This little shy kid from Chicago came from Milwaukee to Miami and I really grew up. We did some special things together. I didn’t do it by myself and I had so many unbelievable teammates along the way, but our fans are just phenomenal.”
After being drafted by the Heat with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Wade spent the first 13 seasons of his career and won three NBA championships with the Heat. Hours after deciding to leave the only franchise he’s ever known, the 34-year-old was still trying to process it all.
“It’s still surreal,” Wade said on the show. “I’m still numb. I’ve been in Miami 13 incredible years. To get a week to decide what you’re going to do, I didn’t get no sleep. I lost probably five to 10 pounds just not being able to eat.”
Wade had a long day Wednesday in New York, holding face-to-face meetings with the Bucks, Heat and Nuggets. Chicago officials also were scheduled to meet with Wade, but it was canceled because the Bulls’ flight “kept getting pushed back,” according to The Vertical. The mishap obviously didn’t hurt Chicago’s chances of landing Wade.
The long day of meetings ended with Wade’s big decision.
“I’ve had a long, long night for me,” Wade said. “You can see it in my eyes.”
But after thanking Heat fans, Wade made it clear that he’s excited for the next chapter in his career. Wade, who grew up in Chicago rooting for the Bulls, is ready to play in front of his hometown fans.
“I’m excited to go back to the place I’ve always envisioned playing basketball,” Wade said. “Being a kid, growing up, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls was the team for us. I always envisioned myself being in the backyard always with a Bulls jersey on, and always envisioned Dwyane Wade’s name being called in the United Center. I get an opportunity to live that dream out.”
But host Kelly Ripa had one important question for the Chicago native who has spent the past 13 years in Miami.
“Do you remember winter?” Ripa asked. “I’m concerned. We’re going to need to get you a coat.”