The morning after he stunningly severed his 13-season association with the Miami Heat and verbally committed to his hometown Bulls, Dwyane Wade co-hosted a national talk show with Kelly Ripa.
In the weeks since, he has co-hosted a program with a entertainment and style magazine, traveled to China for a rapturously received shoe-promotion tour and introduced music acts at Lollapalooza in Grant Park.
Yes, Wade is a crossover star with a capital “S.” Now the Bulls must hope he remains an NBA star as the 12-time All-Star battles the undefeated Father Time.
The Bulls finally officially introduced Wade at a Friday afternoon news conference at the Advocate Center. The Richards High School alumnus, who will turn 35 in January, verbally committed July 6 and signed a two-year, $47 million deal July 15 that includes a player option for the second season.
“This is one of those moments for me that is a dream come true,” Wade said. “I’m a Chicago kid.
“My dream of becoming an NBA player started here. I know it took a long time to get here. But I am here.”
Wade has battled knee issues over the past several seasons but appeared in 74 games last season, his most since 2010-11. He averaged a career-low 30.5 minutes in the regular season before authoring a turn-back-the-clock performance in the playoffs, during which he averaged 21.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 33.8 minutes.
“As important and maybe overlooked is the presence and intangibles that Dwyane is going to bring to this team,” general manager Gar Forman said. “We’ve got 10 players with three years or less of experience. To have Dwyane show them way, I don’t think you can put a value on that.”
Wade also addressed how he thinks the Bulls will fare with him, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo — three players not proficient at 3-point shooting who prefer to have the ball in their hands. Wade is a career 28.4 percent 3-point shooter and shot just 15.9 percent from the distance last season.
With “three alphas” on the Bulls, as Rondo put it, Wade was asked whose team this is.
“It’s Jerry Reinsdorf’s team,” he cracked, then said, “It’s Jimmy Butler’s team.”