Beyond B Ball: Dwyane Wade’s New Trajectory

A whole new world is opening up for the local basketball legend as he embraces his status as NBA retiree.

By Michael Isenbek

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, Miami Heat Shooting Guard Dwyane Wade played his final NBA game in a contest against the Nets—and it was definitely memorable. For only the fifth time in his career, Wade achieved a Triple-Double, a notable single-game achievement that has the player acquiring double-digit totals in three of basketball’s five statistical categories. In this case, Wade scored 25 points, made 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Wade also arrived at his career total for points at the conclusion of the game: 23,165, which places him at number 29 in the list of the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Alas, the Heat lost the game and did not have a spot in the playoffs, but for Wade, it was a great cap-off to a storied, 16-year career.

Born in 1982, and raised in the South Side of Chicago, Wade’s formative years were marked by the epochal career of Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan, as he drilled and played relentlessly on a local basketball court. 

Wade became a star player at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, IL (a Chicago suburb), and then headed to college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. After an initial bumpy road, he soon ascended to the upper echelon of college basketball players, become one of the top U.S. amateur players for 2003 with his designation to the Associated Press All-America First Team and he helped get Marquette its first Conference USA championship that same year.

Wade was then propelled into the NBA when drafted by the Miami Heat in 2003 as the fifth overall pick—one of the first draftees that year, putting him in company with such big names as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony—with the former eventually joining forces with Wade on the Heat.

The Heat were at a low point in the team’s history, but Dwyane’s skills soon made them a contender. During this ascendency, Shaquille O’Neal himself, then a Heat teammate, bestowed upon him the nickname “Flash” for his swiftness on the court.

“I have always been a father first above everything else. It has always been important for me to lead by example and to be a role model to my children.”

Dwyane Wade

Wade played a key role in the Heat’s wins in the 2006, 2012 and 2013 NBA championships, even winning Finals MVP in 2006. In addition to his points number, he is the all-time Heat team leader for points, games, assists, steals, shots made and shots taken, made the NBA All-Star team multiple times, played for the U.S. Olympic Team, among many, many other accomplishments.

In this exclusive Q&A, Wade discusses career highlights, future plans, fame, the importance of family and more.

How is Dwyane Wade doing in the present day? 

It’s been a whirlwind and I could not have asked for a better farewell tour. I am still overwhelmed with all of the love and support I have received. I am focusing on spending time with my family and I am enjoying every moment of it.

How has success changed you? 

Success has allowed me to continue to dream bigger and pursue my passions. I am grateful for every blessing in my life.

Winning three NBA Championships is a huge achievement, was there anything unexpected that you felt or experienced that you didn’t foresee in the time before you won the championships? 

My whole NBA career has been more than I could ever have asked for. I only ever wanted to just be able to play basketball. All of the other accomplishments have exceeded my wildest dreams.

What do you consider the peak moments of your athletic career? 

Winning three championships is definitely at the top, but I am blessed to have had so many incredible moments over my sixteen-year career playing with and against great players in a game I have truly loved all my life.

Your new association with 800° Woodfired Kitchen has you adding “restaurateur” to your resume. What inspired you to branch out into this realm? 

I have always had a passion for food and teaming up with UD [former Heat teammate Udonis Haslem] off the court was the perfect partnership. We offer something for everyone with a diverse menu of delicious wood-fired dishes made with high-quality ingredients that is served in a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.

How has fatherhood changed you personally and professionally? 

I have always been a father first above everything else. It has always been important for me to lead by example and to be a role model to my children. Having Kaavia has been a true blessing, as I have always wanted a daughter. I will continue to make choices based on what’s best for my family and give them unconditional love and support.

There are many facets to your life, how do you stay balanced while juggling so much? 

I have a great support system around me. I always prioritize what’s important and never sweat the small stuff.

What do you consider the best part about being famous and what’s your least favorite part? 

My mother has always told me that my life is bigger than basketball. I am fortunate to be able to use my platform for good. We can do our part in bringing awareness to what’s important and encourage others to do the same.

What are you looking forward to in the future, short-term and long-term? 

I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family. I will be able to attend more of my son’s high school basketball games and enjoy more of the little things that most people take for granted every day. 

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