Dwyane Wade is taking on a mentorship role with Jimmy Butler, and hopes his new teammate in Chicago can join him in the Hall of Fame someday.
Wade says the NBA is “on notice” about Butler’s ascension.
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) November 29, 2016
Wade called the Bulls “Jimmy Butler’s team” when he signed on as a free agent this summer:
“The league is on notice. Everybody is on notice that Jimmy Butler is a player,” Wade told The Vertical. “What everyone is seeing this year, I think everyone has been a little surprised, but we all knew he could play. You’ve seen the potential. Obviously, he’s been an All-Star the last two years, he’s averaged over 20 [points] a game, but what he’s doing nightly now, on both ends of the floor, he’s a complete player. And it’s for real. It’s not one week of doing it. He’s been doing it all season, and I don’t see him slowing down, so …”
Wade, who turns 35 in January, likens his situation to the one he shared earlier in his career with Shaquille O’Neal in Miami, though Wade is closer in age to the 27-year-old Butler. O’Neal, then 32, arrived with his new team in 2004, owning three championships and a Hall of Fame résumé, but he consistently invested in building up a 23-year-old Wade. Wade came to Chicago with similar credentials and purpose.
“I remember how much that meant for me. It was huge. Shaq did that for me and it allowed me grow into what I’ve grown into,” Wade told The Vertical. “I’ve had a career I never thought I’d have. I didn’t know. And like I told Jimmy, ‘You’re an All-Star, what’s the next level for you?’ The level for him is to put himself in [the Hall of Fame] conversation. I’m just like him. Came from small high school, we both went to the same college, and nobody expected me to be where I am, so why can’t you do it? Why can’t you be in conversations for the Hall of Fame when your career is over? These next three to five years are going to set his future up, and I think he can do it.”