Three minutes and 15 seconds had passed by and the Miami Heat was trailing the Milwaukee Bucks 9-0 on Friday night when AmericanAirlines Arena finally began the chant.
“We want Wade!” the crowd bellowed. “We want Wade!”
They got their wish about three and a half minutes later as Dwyane Wade checked into the game in his signature No. 3 uniform with 5:19 left to play in the first quarter.
The surreal moment was finally here. After the shocking trade came to fruition on Thursday, after he returned to the city later that night, after he warmed up with the team earlier on Friday and after spending the first 6:41 on the bench, Wade was finally back on the court playing for the franchise he built.
Wade had a feeling this is how it would play out. Speaking to Eric Reid on Fox Sports Sun’s pre-game show, Wade said he was anticipating excitement from the crowd when the moment came.
"It's great for the city. It's great for my kids and my family to be here,” Wade said. “For these guys that are on this team to see what it feels like and what it looks like when someone has given everything they have in the game of basketball to this organization, I think it's just going to be great overall.
“I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. It's going to have a feel of a playoff atmosphere."
That it was, and it didn’t take long for him to make an impact. On his first offensive possession of the game, Wade sent a lob to center Hassan Whiteside for a dunk.