Chicago native, onetime Bull Dwyane Wade nominated for Hall of Fame

Wade headlined a list of first-time nominees by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday that also included Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol. Bulls coach Billy Donovan and former Heat guard Goran Dragic reflected on Wade.

SHARE Chicago native, onetime Bull Dwyane Wade nominated for Hall of Fame
Chicago native Dwyane Wade, who played one season with the Bulls, has been nominated for the Naismith Hall of Fame.

Chicago native Dwyane Wade, who played one season with the Bulls, has been nominated for the Naismith Hall of Fame.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

ATLANTA — There was a certain amount of crossover between Billy Donovan and Erik Spoelstra back in the day.

Donovan was having championship success at the University of Florida, while Spoelstra was swimming in his own pool of success on South Beach. Donovan already had a sense of what Dwyane Wade was about, but Spoelstra reiterated it in one of their talks.

“He and I, just being in Florida, were around each other quite a bit, and [Spoelstra] made a comment about him. He said, ‘You know, Dwyane Wade can be really stubborn, but he’s also really stubborn when you’re down 25, too.’ ’’ Donovan said. “I think that speaks to him, and I think that’s what a lot of great players have. That stubbornness where they’re going to find a way to figure it out no matter how they had to do it, and I think he always had that mentality.’’

It’s a mentality that earned the former Richards standout three NBA championships. And on Wednesday, the Chicago native was on the list of first-time nominees by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Other prominent names included Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol.

“I think Dwyane is going to make it,’’ Bulls veteran guard Goran Dragic said sarcastically with a laugh.

Dragic played with Wade in Miami for several seasons, and called him the ultimate winner.

“He possessed that aura that he made everybody better and he wants to win,’’ Dragic said. “He’s competing every night. When I came to Miami, you’re kind of scared to play with those kinds of players because you don’t know how they’re going to accept you on the team. But he was awesome, not just to me but to everyone. Whenever you needed a bucket he was going to find a way to deliver.’’

Wade did actually come home and play for the Bulls for one season back in the 2016-17 campaign, but was at the tail end of his career and only showed glimpses of greatness.

While Donovan never got to coach Wade, however, he saw that greatness when it was at its peak, and said few shooting guards could compare.

“I think the one thing that always stood out for him was just his competitiveness and his physicality,’’ Donovan said. “I think when you’re up on him in person, it’s not this overwhelming, tall, physical guy. He played like he was 6-7, 6-8 in a lot of ways. I thought he was reckless in a positive way going to the basket, threw his body into a lot of plays.’’

Deflated Ball

Injured Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball participated in a charity gift drive for Fathers, Families & Healthy Communities on Wednesday, and spoke to NBC Sports Chicago about the frustration he was dealing with in the rehab process for his left knee.

“I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard for me. Really hard for me,’’ Ball said. “I think we have a great team, and I know some things I can do to help this team out. But unfortunately, I’m not on the court right now.’’

And like Donovan said earlier this week, the great unknown in Ball’s recovery from two surgeries since last January was when — and if — he’ll be ready to return this season.

“The pain is there, pretty sure it’s gonna be there,’’ Ball said. “Just figuring out how we can get through it to a point I can produce on the court.’’

The Latest
The monumental decision sets the stage for a groundbreaking revenue-sharing model that could start steering millions of dollars directly to athletes as soon as the 2025 fall semester.
Marina Mabrey led the Sky with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Angel Reese added 13 points and nine rebounds and Dana Evans finished with 12 points and four assists.
“I’ve been in the game long enough to know this doesn’t last forever,” Grifol said.
Clarence Johnson of Bellwood faces a first-degree murder charge in Wednesday’s stabbing death of Francois H. Reed-Swain in the West Loop restaurant. No motive was given.