MIAMI (CBSMiami) — More than a hundred hoops-loving kids got to hang out with hometown hero Dwyane Wade during his youth basketball camp in Miami.
The 2016 DWade Youth Skills Camp tipped off Saturday, July 9th, at the Jose Marti Gym at 362 S.W. 4th Street.
The group got to run intense development drills from a talented coaching staff that included game strategy and instruction from 12-time NBA All-Star and 3-time Champion Dwyane Wade.
“It’s important for me, with everything I been going through, over the last couple hours, was to still make sure that my youth camp and the kids knew I would be here,” said Wade, just days after announcing that he would be leaving the Miami Heat for the Chicago Bulls.
Talking to the media during a break at the camp, Wade couldn’t help but stress his love for South Florida.
“This is never goodbye to South Florida,” Wade said somberly. “You know, the words ‘Heat-Lifer’ — I’m a Heat for life. I will always be a Heat.”
“I’m thankful for the love and the opportunity that I’ve had in this city for 13 years to create some unbelievable magic,” Wade said. “And that’ll be something that we all will have in common.”
Wade said leaving the team that drafted him was still a surreal experience.
“It’s hard to get used to the idea of not being here,” he said, adding that it wasn’t just about the bigger contract Chicago offered. “I just took this moment, and this opportunity, to like, seize it. Ya know, I can’t play for long. Some people think I can’t play no more. I just figured, with the last couple of years I have to play, I wanted to live out a dream of mine.”
Wade was born in Chicago and watched Michael Jordan and the Bulls win six NBA titles.
“It was a tough decision and it’s gonna hurt so many of my fans here. But to go back and play with Chicago, it’s something I’ve always dreamed of since I was a little bity kid.”
On Friday, fans flocked to the stores to grab Wade jerseys and merchandise as a flash sale marked everything down to $13, in honor of his 13 years in a Heat uniform.
“I drove by and seen the fan support, and what the Heat had did on the big screen outside. I woke up in the morning and saw the paper, when I was standing on the table against the Bulls, when I hit that shot. And I read underneath and it says, ‘You’ll always have a key,'” recalling his buzzer beater shot on March 9, 2009 to give the Heat an overtime win. “Man, I choked up inside.”
The fans will never forget the heroics, Dwyane.
His skills camp runs through Sunday. Registration costs $199.