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Dwyane Wade issues statement after informing Heat of decision to join Bulls

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Immediately after the stunning decision, Wade issues statement to the AP thanking Heat fans for their support.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade is now a former Miami Heat player. Let that sink in for awhile. Wade has now issued a statement to the Associated Press late Wednesday night just moments after revealing his shocking decision to leave the Heat after 13 seasons, three NBA titles and becoming the franchise leader in numerous categories including points, assists, steals, and games played.

This was not an easy decision, but I feel I have made the right choice. Watching the Bulls growing up inspired me at an early age to pursue my dream of becoming a basketball player.

My most treasured memories were watching my dad play basketball on the courts of Fermi Elementary School and developing my game at the Blue Island Recreation Center.

I have never forgotten where I came from and I am thankful to have an opportunity to play for the team that first fueled my love of the game.

I started my NBA career with the Miami Heat in 2003 and it has been an honor to have played with them and help build a winning franchise with three NBA championships.

I look back with pride and amazement at all we have accomplished together. I want to express my gratitude to the Arison family, Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra, the coaching staff and the entire Miami Heat organization.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Miami Heat community and especially #HEATNATION for all of their love and support over the years. It has been truly incredible.

I am deeply moved and appreciative of the positive messages from my fans expressing that they want what's best for me and I know they will support my decision.

The memories including championship parades and five conference titles are incredible moments we have shared that will always remain close to my heart as I begin the next chapter of my life.

Hot Hot Hoops will have more reaction to the news that Wade has indeed decided to leave the Heat, including a look back at his illustrious time in Miami as well as a look forward to the team's future.