The idea of a player staying with one team for his whole career has taken a big hit this NBA free agency period. First, Kevin Durant said goodbye to the franchise he spent his entire career with, and now Dwyane Wade is doing the same.
Durant’s decision may have more significant ramifications, but Wade’s move is perhaps the most surprising of the offseason. However, while sticking with one team might be at an all-time low, this dip has led to a corresponding rise in the professional athlete letter industry. Durant published his in the Players’ Tribune, and Wade followed suit Wednesday night by sending the Associated Press a letter specifically directed at the Miami Heat faithful.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) July 7, 2016
Wade’s letter, released through the AP, comes off as pretty heartfelt. He spends the first three paragraphs addressing his time in Miami, expressing gratitude to both the organization and its fans. However, he does leave out any mention of the very public rumors of friction between him and team President Pat Riley and the Heat front office that were likely a motivating factor behind this move.
He did make sure to include the other factors influencing his decision, though, in the fourth paragraph: His ties to Chicago, his de facto hometown.
Growing up in Robbins, Ill., I never dreamed that an NBA career could have even been possible and that one day I would wear a Chicago Bulls jersey. Watching the Bulls growing up inspired me at an early age to pursue my dream of becoming a basketball player. My most treasured memories were watching my dad play basketball on the courts of Fermi Elementary School and developing my game at the Blue Island Recreation Center. I have never forgotten where I came from and I am thankful to have an opportunity to play for the team that first fueled my love of the game. Many of my family members still live in Chicago and I am excited to return home to a city very close to my heart.
If after reading this letter, you are still having trouble grasping the thought of Wade leaving Miami, you are certainly not alone. Even his own family was having trouble processing it.
Dwyane Wade's family members in Chicago texted they were even shocked that Wade being a Bull actually happened.
— Michael Wallace (@MyMikeCheck) July 7, 2016
It may take a few days for it to register, but Wade is the newest member of the Chicago Bulls and an ex-member of the Heat. He even has a goodbye letter to show for it.