James Wade offers support for new Sky coach in return to Chicago on anniversary of title

Tuesday held relatively little significance in the basketball world, depending on the context. In the NBA, there were preseason games scheduled, including a matchup between the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls. Although the Raptors emerged victorious with a 106-102 win, the game served primarily as an opportunity for both teams to test out potential lineups and assess their players before the regular season begins.

However, with the application of historical context, one man’s presence on the Raptors’ bench brought significant meaning. Assistant coach James Wade, who now wears the Raptors’ red and black, was present on the bench. Two years ago on the same day, Wade was five miles south in a different arena, celebrating the first-ever WNBA championship for the Chicago Sky, a team he had built.

Before the Raptors’ game, Wade was unaware that it was the anniversary of the WNBA championship. When informed, he expressed surprise and reflected on what life had brought him. “Wow,” Wade exclaimed, “That just made my heart drop a little bit. You never know what life is going to bring you. It was a wonderful time. I never would have thought in a million years — I would have given you all my money — I’d be at a shootaround with Toronto against Chicago.”

The transition from coaching the Sky to becoming an assistant for the Raptors happened rapidly. One night, Wade was coaching the Sky to a victory, and the next day, he announced his resignation. The Sky have since appointed Teresa Weatherspoon as his official successor, a decision that Wade supports. He has already spoken with Weatherspoon about her future in Chicago.

Throughout his coaching career, Wade has always sought to avoid being the smartest person in the room. This desire led him to become an assistant on Cheryl Reeve’s Lynx staff, where he won his first WNBA championship and contributed to Sylvia Fowles’ success. After two seasons in Minnesota, he joined the Sky and achieved notable success, including a championship, coach of the year honors, and executive of the year honors.

When asked if he has any regrets, Wade emphasized that he does not live his life in a way that allows for regret. He believes that regrets prevent personal growth and learning from challenging situations. As an assistant coach, Wade’s role has changed, but his commitment and dedication remain the same.

Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic has noted that Wade has seamlessly integrated into the coaching staff and is already making a meaningful impact. On Tuesday night, Wade was one of the last people to leave the court after warmups. As for future goals, Wade prefers to focus on the present game. While he admitted to having a five-year plan, he chose to keep it private and emphasized the importance of writing it down and keeping it to oneself.


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