Dwyane Wade wanted to get something off of his chest, and he picked the right time for it.
D-Wade couldn’t complain about Chicago Bulls fans booing his new team over the weekend, when the Bulls were coming off of three consecutive losses. No, he had to wait until the good cheer returned following a massive Chicago win over Detroit on Monday, and a bit of ha-ha with the play fight enjoyed between wife Gabrielle Union and teammate Jimmy Butler
With glad tidings at hand, Wade (“unprompted,” confirms CSN Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill), used the practice stage on Wednesday to bring up something that had been bothering him of late: Chicago’s booing of the Bulls during a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks last Friday.
Via Goodwill, here is Wade’s posit:
“I’m an honest guy. I was very disappointed our fans booed us. We’re trying to figure it out. We win home games against Cleveland, San Antonio. And then we get our butts kicked against Milwaukee. I don’t think we deserved to get booed.
“We’re out here trying. I’d like to see more patience and support from everybody. Like I said at the beginning of the year, we’re not winning a championship today. We’re not winning a championship tomorrow. We got stages and levels to get to where we want to get to. And everyone gotta understand that.”
Nobody likes to be booed. Nobody likes to be booed in game 25 of an 82-game season. Nobody likes to be booed by their hometown fans, especially when you play for your hometown team as Dwyane Wade does.
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More critical to Wade’s defense – the home crowd that let loose on Friday night wasn’t exactly challenging an outright failure.
The Bulls have erred a bit recently, but the loss to the Bucks only dropped them to 13-12 in a season that many predicted would end with Chicago going the 82-game version of 13-12 (43 wins). The Bucks have the talent to develop into a great basketball team someday, as the favorite Bulls were hardly facing down the Washington Generals. Or Wizards, even.
For a team with such a potent fan base – in terms of numbers, intellectual heft, and certainly by favor of fervor – Chicago’s in-game experience is lacking. The sheer amount of turnover between fans in the lower bowl that makes for imperfect strangers, far too many fly-by-nighters dot the United Center, and opposing teams likely don’t consider the atmosphere one of their least-liked placed to play as they used to even in the decade before Michael Jordan showed up.
It’s far too quiet, too often – so for those fans to boo you?
That seems to be Wade’s point. That he has only been in uniform since October, that he’s one of four new starters, and that he’s used to doing his best work some six months from this point in an NBA season. Chill, guys. “I’d like to see more patience.”
That’s as big a sell as we’re going to give Wade’s side. Chicago has turned in some undeserved stinkers this season, and Wade’s choice of buttress (discussing those wins over Cleveland and San Antonio) is sadly telling if you’re a Bulls fan.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were due, let’s say, and it’s quite normal to split a home-and-home with a formidable team like the Bucks. Friday night’s showing, though, represented the final in 11 quarters of sustained listless and uncaring play by the Bulls. The die-hards, it appears, were fully represented by the home crowd on Friday.
Couple that with uneasiness (and the move to want to fit in) from the fair-weather types in the lower bowl, and you have a whole bunch of boos.
Dwyane Wade is from Chicago, but it’s going to take some time for his own city to warm to the Chicagoan as a Chicago Bull. Not just because his Miami Heat battled the Bulls in four different postseason contests from 2006 through 2013, either. It’s because he’s still a new face on a new team. The town you lived in from 1982 through 2003 doesn’t matter much to that particular town when you’re taking off plays for that town’s team.
Chicago isn’t supposed to love the guy that doesn’t even have two months in with his new team, and they certainly shouldn’t be expected to stay silent in the face of what took place on Friday. Whether the context of the three-game swoon was a point of knowledge for the booing fan, or just a lucky happenstance that allowed for the razz.
The Bulls always gave off the whiff of a team constructed in a huff. To glom on to big assist-guy Rajon Rondo after saying goodbye to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, almost haughtily pairing him with Wade. And D-Wade was only available because he and Pat Riley weren’t getting along.
Miami Heat president Riley appears to have committed to his lacking lot in NBA life a little earlier than his former co-champion:
“We’re dealing with that word that you hate to use — that we have to rebuild,” Riley told WQAM’s Joe Rose on his radio show Wednesday morning.
“You can use that word rebuild.”
The Bulls cannot.
They have (what I’m apparently the only one that sees – thanks a lot, guys) MVP candidate Jimmy Butler to surround in his prime, hence the team’s understandable move to stave off a full-on rebuild in the wake of the farewell to the Rose/Noah era. Diving in with Wade and Rondo – immediately creating the worst defensive backcourt in the NBA in the process – as part of an upset bid for the top is an expensive gamble that many Bulls fans don’t want to sit through, as they wait out what they see is its inevitable collapse.
Dwyane Wade’s Bulls don’t get a win and a half for beating the Cavaliers in Chicago and a Spurs team that missed an unending series of wide open shots. Dwyane Wade’s Bulls are supposed to compete – not play evenly, just compete – for at least half of the team’s combined 96 minutes against Milwaukee, and a home blowout win over a bickering Detroit Pistons squad doesn’t change anything. All it does is remind us of what the Bulls, those well-heeled Bulls, are supposed to do.
Do young guys understand how hard they have to play every night? Wade: "Not yet. We're proving that. When we're desperate, we show it."
— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) December 21, 2016
Fans can tell. And you’re not often desperate.
Nobody gets a honeymoon simply for signing a contract. Booing isn’t exactly involuntary, but Chicago fans shouldn’t be expected to turn the other cheek when faced with play like the Bulls gave them last week.
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