Justise Winslow says there was ‘animosity,’ ‘tension’ when Dwyane Wade left Heat for Bulls

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When Dwyane Wade – a mentor to Justise Winslow – left the Heat for the Bulls in 2016, Winslow said:

“That’s what I want,” Winslow said Wednesday. “That’s what I’ve been working for my whole life, to make it to the NBA – not only that, but to be a star and have my own team one day. This is the next step in me progressing and getting there, expanding my role and growing as a leader. And I accept whatever the coaching staff throws at me.”

But apparently Winslow wasn’t completely on board with everything until Wade returned to Miami last season.

Winslow, in a Q&A with Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated:

RN: The team seemed to have a new energy last season when Dwyane Wade returned. What’s your relationship like with him?

JW: It’s great. There’s been some ups and downs. When he first got to the team, he looked out for me, kind of like a big brother. There was some animosity when he left for Chicago, I remember that first game it got kind of heated between us. Now everything is great. He’s a big brother to me. He’s invited me to hang out, help me on my game, watch film. He’s a stand-up guy, it’s been a blessing to play alongside him and learn from him.

RN: What happened when he went to Chicago?

JW: It’s basketball, we’re still competitors. There was a little tension. But I mean, we squashed it. We’re grown men. We’re both doing what we love. It wasn’t anything major. We just had to figure some things out between us.

Maybe this is just old-school competitiveness. Some players still hold animosity toward all opponents. Winslow seems like the type who might take that approach.

But this also sounds as if it might have been something more. If it weren’t, what would there have been to figure out? Once Wade returned to the Heat, he would have instantly no longer been an opponent.

Most importantly, it seems Wade and Winslow are back on the same page, no matter what happened in between.