LeBron is to Cleveland as Wade is... not to Chicago
Last week we discussed how the fine folks of Chicago cannot muster the hate for Dwyane Wade that Clevelanders have so easily tapped into for LeBron James.
Why is that? He is a born-and-raised Chicago guy who flirted with the city before deciding to stay in Miami (and join forces with LeBron and Bosh). Why not hate?
A couple things hold it back, from the sports attitudes in Chicago to Wade himself. We asked your friendly neighborhood Bulls blogger, Matt of Blog-a-Bull -- one of the longest-running and most-respected bloggers out there -- about Wade and Chicago.
He said the LeBron and Cleveland dynamic was very different than Wade in Chicago, in large part because Wade wasn’t Chicago’s to lose.
‘Chicago’ and the ‘Bulls’ aren’t entirely in sync. The Bulls are a worldwide fandom (thanks to Jordan, of course), yet will always be an afterthought in Chicago sports behind the Bears and baseball. There are many Bulls fans who aren’t from Chicago and don’t care about the city aspect of it.
Also, Wade wasn’t a major star when he was a high school player here. He was definitely good, but famously was under-recruited before going to Marquette. So it was more of seeing his star blossom elsewhere and being a returning hero than the homegrown version.
...which of course brings to mind someone who WAS a star through high school here, and that’s Derrick Rose. Basically, if there are any special feelings toward a hometown superstar (and there are), they’re given to Rose, and Wade is then an afterthought...I believe most fans feel that Wade was at best merely giving the Bulls a courtesy, but at worst leveraging his family situation to throw the Bulls off and help Riley with his master plan... But even so, he’s not nearly as reviled as LeBron or Bosh, maybe as at least some kind of respect for a guy working for his franchise. We’d be alright with Rose doing the same to help the Bulls recruit free agents. So Wade will be booed upon his return, but that’s just because of his jersey. I think the ties to his home are personal and separated, and that’s probably healthiest for us as fans anyway.