Dwyane Wade is the best player in Miami Heat history.
LeBron James hit a higher peak, but he didn’t accomplish nearly as much in four years as Wade did in 13. Shaquille O’Neal spent even less time than LeBron in Miami and was too far into his decline to earn the title. Alonzo Mourning never reached Wade’s heights in top-end performance, longevity or playoff success with Heat.
Wade has defined the franchise since he led Miami to the 2006 title. Recruiting LeBron and Chris Bosh to the Heat and winning championships in 2012 and 2013 only further cemented Wade’s Heat legacy.
And now he’s playing for a new team.
Wade, who agreed to terms with the Bulls, grew up in Chicago and said he always envisioned himself in a Bulls jersey. For the rest of us, it’ll be a shocking sight.
There’s a history of great players who’ve established such a strong identity with one team then played for another, though. Here are players who’ve made at least eight All-Star appearances with their first NBA team then switched teams:
|Player||First team||All-Star berths with first team||Next team(s)|
|Karl Malone||Utah Jazz||14||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Bob Cousy||Boston Celtics||13||Cincinnati Royals|
|Michael Jordan||Chicago Bulls||12||Washington Wizards|
|Hakeem Olajuwon||Houston Rockets||12||Toronto Raptors|
|Patrick Ewing||New York Knicks||11||Seattle SuperSonics, Orlando Magic|
|Dwyane Wade||Miami Heat||10||Chicago Bulls|
|Paul Pierce||Boston Celtics||10||Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers|
|Kevin Garnett||Minnesota Timberwolves||10||Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Oscar Robertson||Cincinnati Royals||10||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Gary Payton||Seattle SuperSonics||9||Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat|
|George Gervin||San Antonio Spurs||9||Chicago Bulls|
|Clyde Drexler||Portland Trail Blazers||8||Houston Rockets|
|Dave Cowens||Boston Celtics||8||Milwaukee Bucks|
Hakeem Olajuwon with the Raptors and Patrick Ewing with the Sonics and Magic are common comparisons, but this doesn’t always go so badly. Wade is probably too old to match Oscar Robertson’s success with the Bucks, but Clyde Drexler with the Rockets is a reasonable best-case scenario.
Either way, the odds are strongly against us remembering Wade as something other than a Heat great who spent a couple late years elsewhere. No matter how it seems today, his Miami connection is that strong.