Dwyane Wade on Fatherhood

In honor of last night’s conclusion of the NBA Finals (Go Mavs!), it seems appropriate to call attention to a great op-ed piece last Friday in the Chicago Tribune by Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who grew up in Chicago. Over the last few years, Wade has gone through a bitter, ugly divorce (he married his high school girlfriend) and briefly lost custody of his two sons, Zaire and Zion. This March, he was awarded full custody of the two boys, ages 8 and 4.


From what I’ve heard of the NBA, it doesn’t always seem like a particularly family-friendly environment, so it was encouraging to read about Wade’s commitment to being a good dad:

I was seriously motivated to be a full-time parent for my sons. My mother and father weren’t together when I was a kid growing up in Chicago, and early on my mother fell victim to drug abuse. At 9 years old, I moved in with my father because my mother could no longer care for me. Looking back, I now see so many similarities between my own childhood and that of my sons….All children need their fathers, but boys especially need fathers to teach them how to be men. I remember wanting that so badly before I went to live with my dad.


His passion for his kids doesn’t always seem to have been well-received by his Miami teammates:

I could say I was surprised at the criticism I received for traveling from Miami to Chicago so often during the regular season for my custody court cases, but nothing really surprises me anymore. I had a duty to fight to be with my kids, and I did it.

But he felt the hard work on behalf of his kids was worth the struggle, Wade says:

I just want people — men, and men of color in particular — to hear my story and know that their children need them and that it’s their responsibility to be there for them. We have to step up as men and do our part. There are no excuses.

Love that. I’m glad the Dallas Mavericks beat him last night, but I wish Dwyane Wade the best. Hope he enjoys the off-season with his boys.


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Tor Constantino

posted June 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Great post – I had no idea that DWade was so focused on his family. It’s great to hear and see those principles modeled so prominently. So often times super-star athletes nurture their jump shot more than their kids. I’m thrilled to see him breaking that mold!

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posted June 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I’m pulling for him off the court too. but it’s really sad how much pain that kids bear for decisions that parents make. my last blog was about that (if interested here:

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posted June 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Really great story…
and while life is full of hindsight and I should haves, fighting for his kids and his family is one thing Wade will NEVER regret.

Unlike the press conference announcing the Heat Dynasty.

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Ray Hollenbach

posted June 13, 2011 at 11:59 am

Thanks for the reminder that even NBA players have real lives behind the publicity, and that guys like Wade can learn from the past and break the cycle, regardless of the criticism of others. I wish him and his boys well–but not the Heat!

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posted June 13, 2011 at 11:42 am

Love it. Big DWade fan – though I had to root for Dallas because my soul won’t allow me to root for LeBron. Love that he fought for (and daily fights for) his kids. Big time.

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