Dwyane Wade is a Chicago guy, born and raised.
Well, he seems himself that way. But he went to high school at Richards High in Oak Lawn, Ill., almost half an hour outside the city’s core. He played his high school ball in the suburbs.
So the city never embraced him as one of their own as it has guys like Derrick Rose or Doc Rivers, guys who grew up and played in the city. Don’t take my word for it, look what a local sports editor told Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.
“There’s no question when you think basketball in Chicago, your natural tendency is to think Mark Aguirre, Isaiah Thomas, Doc Rivers, Terry Cummings and Derrick Rose,” said Roy Schmidt, editor of Illinois Preps Bulls-Eye. “So I can certainly understand Dwyane saying that.”
What is Wade saying? That playing in the ‘burbs left him outside the city’s lore.
“It’s always been a knock on guys who played in the suburbs,” said Wade… “You didn’t get as much attention because they think it’s not as tough or whatever the case may be. I think I represent the city. Guys are proud of that, but it’s something different between guys that go to school in the city and the suburbs.”
But look at Wade versus those other careers. Isiah Thomas is the only guy on that list in Wade’s ballpark — and he played out in Westchester, yet he is embraced. (To be fair, Rose is 24 and it’s too early to judge his career.) Wade has two rings, same as Thomas, a Finals MVP, nine All-Star Games and is a Hall of Fame lock. And he could well pick up another ring or three in the coming years.
Of course, a couple years ago Wade talked with the Bulls about coming home, instead choosing to stay in Miami and bringing Chris Bosh and LeBron James to join him. If Wade had chosen Chicago, this story might be different. But it isn’t.
When it’s said and done, when he hangs up his sneakers, Wade will be the best player Chicago has ever produced. Even if some in Chicago don’t count him among their own.