“No, not yet," Wade said after Sunday's practice. "We’ll get there, though."
Wade, a Chicago native, and James, an Akron, Ohio, native, each have a rooting interest in this year's World Series. The close friends and former Miami Heat teammates started discussing the bet on Twitter after the Cubs knocked off the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night to win the National League Championship Series and advance to their first World Series since 1945.
James grew up as a New York Yankees fan, but has shifted his allegiance, at least publicly, toward the Indians. Wade has played his own allegiances for the Cubs and the Chicago White Sox closer to the vest, not publicly acknowledging which team he cheers for. The White Sox, like Wade's Bulls, are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf.
Both men are enjoying the civic pride associated with seeing so many happy fans in their respective hometowns. Wade and several of his teammates already have attended a Cubs playoff game. Same goes with James and several of his Cavaliers teammates while watching the Indians work through the American League side of the playoffs. Wade said he wasn't sure how big of an Indians fan James is, but he knows the former MVP loves northeast Ohio.
"It’s mostly about pride in your city," Wade said. "I don’t know if it’s about all those things. Just pride in your city. Cleveland has obviously had droughts in sports and then he went back there to change that drought from the standpoint of basketball, and they accomplished that.
"And now Cleveland is trying to do the same, and they got to a World Series, which has been a drought for them. So [there's] excitement there for them. It’s there for the pride of their city. And excitement there for Chicago, the same thing. Obviously you guys have wrote about it, it’s great. They’re two franchises that have been struggling to get to the World Series, and this is what sports is about. It’s cool.’’
Wade, who signed with the Bulls over the summer after 13 seasons with the Heat, knows how much the Cubs' success has meant to the city.
“Obviously it’s huge for the city," Wade said. "It’s been a long, long, long time, and just obviously I felt the buzz when I got back to the city, and everyone thinking that this was the Cubs’ year. And they’ve been obviously playing amazing, so it’s great. It’s great to be in Chicago at this time with the Cubs being as successful as they are so far. It’s good to be here and it’s good to be a sports fan at this time in Chicago.’’
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, a lifelong Cubs fan, believes there are lessons to be learned from the way the Cubs play together.
“It’s been fun; it’s been fun to watch," Hoiberg said. "I’ve talked about how together that team is, how much of confidence, how much of a swagger they play with. It’s just a fun team that looks like it has unbelievable chemistry. They all get along. They play every game. It’s a team that I think you can learn from with what they’re doing and the backing that they have from the city. Cubs fans, from the time they’re born like myself, they’re just, it’s been awesome to watch and see the celebration after the game. Four more to go. I like their chances just because of how confident they’re playing.”
Wade agreed with that assessment.
"Whenever a team wins, it’s all about winning," Wade said. "That team has figured out a way, even during this series when it looked like their back was against the wall, they came out swinging. They stuck together. It looks like they have a great time together. And that’s what it’s all about.
"You have to support each other. No matter who’s on the basketball court for us, who’s on the bench, it’s all about supporting each other and really caring about the other guy. When you start caring about the other person, you don’t want to let that other person down on the court. You become a better team because of that."
Wade said he is hoping to make it to Wrigley Field for Game 3 of the World Series, but had to find some tickets to get in, like so many others across the country. He said that if the Cubs ask him to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch alongside Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo, they will be ready.
"I know Scottie [Pippen] butchered the seventh-inning stretch [during Game 6 of the NLCS]. I think me and Jimmy and Rondo could do a good job together if they ask us to do it," Wade said. "It’s just cool to be a part of. If they show us while we’re there, it’s cool. If they don’t, it’s still cool. It’s about the Cubs."