“I’ve been waiting on this moment for a long time”.
By now every NBA team has made their 2016/2017 season debut. From King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers coming out of the gates like the champions they are against the new look Knicks. To big free agent deciding factor Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors dropping their first game of the season to the Tim Duncan-less San Antonio Spurs like the growing pains the best team of superstars on paper will go through this season, especially against the only player for squad team that could surprise surpass them out West.
We’ve had even more surprises. Some pleasant. Some not so much. Like a Sixer fan flipping two eagles at Russell Westbrook after he claimed this years MVP lane frontrunner called him “fat”…and we thought these type of hostile gestures would happen in Oklahoma City once the Thunder weathered the return of someone that bolted for sunnier California climates. Not just a rountine start-up game on the road in Philly. It’s a good job it’s sunnier in Los Angeles, even following Laker legend Kobe Bryant leaving the building. With the ice in D’Angelo Russell’s veins and the one off the bench cooler in Jordan Clarkson proclaiming STAPLES Centre as their house as this young core of the brodies plus this years number two draft choice Brandon Ingram and the lottery pick that started all these balls rolling Julius Randle looks to prove everyone wrong in the next 82 and whatever follows.
Still there seems to be a homecoming theme this year in an NBA season were history has already been made with Anthony Davis’ 50 points, 16 rebounds, 7 steals, 5 assists and 4 blocks legendary line debut. Following the coronation of LeBron as the King turned his Ohio home into ‘Believeland’. Dwight Howard has redemptively dunked his way back to Atlanta. Showing his number 8 was a wonder for the Hawks. But no return home was as sweet as Alabama as LeBron James former South Beach running mate taking his talents to the Windy City that have been through a storm of Rose and concrete.
Dwyane Wade may be synomonous with the Miami Heat franchise he lead to the promised land with Giants and Kings and all men inbetween, but he’s actually even more Chi-town than D-Rose. Chicago is coded in his Illinois born DNA. And now aligning with Rajon Rondo in the backcourt, rookie love Denzel Valentine and the man the team serves, Jimmy Butler the Bulls look to lock horns with this franchise change of all guards in this small ball revolution running league of associated players.
And in his official debut at home in Chi-city, Dwyane Wade lifted this town back on the shoulders that were raised here like the new Common album ‘Black America Again’ (expect a shoutout dreamers and believers). As he knelt to the United Centre floor, held his fist to his heart and prayed during a player introduction as emotional as the pre-game stars and stripes National Anthem standing together of all teams and players linking arms, the whole home state of Illinois could feel it like the Cubs swinging big and hitting so much they even resurrected Will Ferrell’s Saturday Night Live impression of late, great announcer Harry Carry on Kimmell.
And the actual game itself was as storybook beautiful as all these perfect preludes when Wade went as explosive as Kevin Garnett joining TNT. As against Rondo’s former Boston Celtics team lead by the new general Isiaah Thomas, Wade held guard scoring 22 points to go along with 6 rebounds and five assists and a clutch dagger with 26 seconds to go as he went for the jugular in the teams 105-99 win and celebrated with a stank face, throat slash gesture. Something that wouldn’t fly in the NFL from this basketball Q.B.
Something perhaps a little inappropriate in a city marred by gang violence, but the home fans loved it. Because their boy was home and this show of solidarity meant so much more in standing defiance than all the torment and troubled times the Second City has been through.
For this storied franchise looking for a new tale to tell, Dwyane Wade in closing the Miami one, wrote quite the opening chapter.