CHICAGO -- As he adjusts to his new life with the Chicago Bulls after 13 seasons as a member of the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade wants his introduction before home games at the United Center to be short and sweet.
"From Chicago, Illinois," Wade said after Wednesday's practice. "Simple as that. I thought about the whole Marquette University thing. It would be cool to have two guys coming out from Marquette University, but I think coming back to the city, just hearing, 'From Chicago, Illinois,' will be good to me. I did it so many ways in Miami -- I think I've heard it every way. I did it from Robbins [Illinois] one year, I did it from Marquette, and I did it from Chicago one year, so I know what [the introductions] sound like."
Wade surprised the basketball world by leaving Miami and signing with the Bulls in July. He has repeatedly expressed how happy he is to be playing back in Chicago after growing up in the area. The future Hall of Famer says he has heard from plenty of fans throughout the city since making the decision regarding his basketball life.
"I think the biggest thing is just excitement for the season, this season," Wade said. "I think a lot of fans are just excited about what the possibilities could be, good or bad. People are always tuning in to watch. We want to take the ones who are thinking about the good things and make them proud. And the ones who are thinking about bad [things], turn them around and get them on our side. But [the vibe] has been very good since I've been in this city -- I get a lot of people saying the same thing: 'Hey man, we love that you're here. We wish you were here 10 years ago.' And then some people just say, 'We love that you're here.' Some people say, 'It's weird seeing you in a Bulls uniform.' So I get a lot of different things, but most importantly I'm happy that I'm here, and I think this organization and my teammates, they're all happy that I'm here. So I'm cool with that, and my wife's cool with it, so it's all good."
As far as the on-court adjustment goes, the early reviews of Wade's game and presence have been solid throughout the Bulls organization.
"I expected him to come in and have great leadership qualities, and I think he's gone above and beyond even what any of us expected," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "Another really smart basketball player. He's done a great job figuring out his body and getting himself in the type of shape he needs to be in. Now it's up to us to gradually get him ready for opening night. But he's been out there -- he has not taken any plays off. We've gotten him in and out when we go up and down, but he has not sat out any of the drills that we've run to this point."
Wade, who has a career average of 23.7 points per game, is confident he can fit in quickly with his teammates.
"My game translates anywhere," Wade said. "I've played with so many different players before. So I'm not worried about that. It's me just trying to understand the offense, understand what we're trying to do, get to know my teammates. But I know where my sweet spot is, I know where I can be aggressive, etcetera."
Wade did note that he is going to have to be ready to crank up more 3-pointers than he did a year ago. Wade, who is a career 28.4 percent 3-point shooter and shot just 7-for-44 from beyond the arc last season, knows he is going to have to take more shots from beyond the arc.
"One thing I'm trying to get used to is that 3-point shot is going to open a little more for me," Wade said. "Coach is telling me to shoot it, so that's a little new era for me. Normally, I have to be the guy to put it on the floor, but more so than that just pick my spots and understand when to be aggressive, but I'm a playmaker as well. So I'm always looking to make plays for my guys."
What will be interesting is how Wade's introduction will be received by fans. Derrick Rose, who spent his entire career in Chicago before being traded to the New York Knicks over the summer, was always introduced as being: "From Chicago." Wade had a national shoe campaign years ago through Converse, which included a commercial in which he was introduced as: "From Robbins, Illinois." Wade clearly has an affinity for Chicago -- he hosted an event for his foundation in the city for several years, among other things -- but how will it resonate with fans?
For his part, Wade doesn't seem to care if he is introduced first or last. He's just trying to come to grips with the fact he is now a Bull, and he wants to represent the city well.
"That's not our choice," Wade said of the introduction order. "I don't even know whose choice that is around here, but in Miami that wasn't our choice. They make the decisions; you don't get involved in all that, you get involved from the players' standpoint. I don't care. At the end of the day, you just want to come out, get introduced, get the love from the fans, get the game going. So [being introduced] first, second, third, fourth, fifth, it's all good."