The return of a legend: A Heat fan’s view of Dwyane Wade coming home

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade leaves after talking with the media following NBA basketball practice at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Wade was traded back to the Heat from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)

By Nicholas Alatriste, Special to The Post

Just two summers ago, Miami Heat fans’ hopes and dreams were torn asunder as our beloved star left to join his hometown Chicago Bulls.

Dwyane Wade was the heart and soul of our team for 13 years before that, and most South Florida fans were grateful for all he had given to the city. When I was a 7-year-old kid, he turned me into a Heat lifer. Memories of a young Wade racing through defenders like a motorcycle will never fade. No matter what, when he wore the signature red and black, he always left his heart on the floor.

Since he left, it’s been a roller-coaster ride for both the Heat and the Flash. But it always felt like his absence would only be temporary.

When the news broke Thursday of his return to Miami, it was a moment of pure bliss. I walked out of my class at Florida State to hear clamoring among my fellow students about the news – was it true? Did Dwyane Wade really get traded back to his NBA home? I opened my phone and what awaited me was a plethora of text messages and notifications proclaiming that he was dealt to the Heat for a measly protected second-round pick. Who knew Miami and Dwyane’s paths would collide at such a perfect time?

Wade’s dreams of playing for the Bulls, his favorite team growing up, were fulfilled. Although his reunion with LeBron ended up being overshadowed by the Cavaliers’ trade-deadline roster implosion, Wade still flashed the star power and leadership he’s always displayed.

Sure, he won’t be playing alongside LeBron James anymore, but Wade returns to a team that’s likely in better shape than the one he left. Recent acquisitions like James Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Kelly Olynyk give the Heat much more depth than in 2016. We also drafted Bam Adebayo, who has flashed brilliant upside as Whiteside’s backup.  Dwyane’s departure in the summer of 2016 allowed some of these moves to be made, and Josh Richardson has developed plenty since then to round out a solid Heat lineup. Wade gets immediately injected into a playoff-bound Heat team that had been missing a true veteran presence like his.

Not only does Dwyane help us replace the injured Dion Waiters, but he brings a level of leadership capable of elevating this team to new heights. This season he’s averaged an underrated 11.2 points, 4 boards and 3.5 assists in a career-low 23 minutes per game.

Wade has finally returned to the franchise he electrified for so many years. Heat fans have rejoiced since hearing the news. Wade County is back and we hope it’s here to stay. It is a great day to be a Heat fan!

Follow Nicholas on Twitter at @fantasy_savage


* Dwyane Wade is back with the Heat and he had a lot to say: ‘My eyes and heart were always here’

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Dwyane Wade: ‘Heat Nation, I’m excited to see you guys. I hope you guys are excited to see me’

* How did Heat players react to Dwyane Wade’s return? They couldn’t believe it

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