Dwyane Wade is an American professional basketball player who has just retired. Wade spent the majority of his 16-year career playing for the Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wade led the United States men's basketball team in scoring, and helped them capture the gold medal. Wade helped guide Miami to four consecutive NBA Finals from 2011 to 2014, winning back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. A 13-time NBA All-Star, Wade is Miami's all-time leader in points, games, assists and steals, shots made and shots taken.
However, Dwayne's success belies his upbringing. Born on the South Side of Chicago, Wade has described his upbringing in Chicago as being very difficult. Wade states that "[his] mum was on drugs and [his] family was in the gang environment, so it was a rough childhood." At a very young age, Wade had already witnessed police raids and found dead bodies several times nearby. When he was only 4 months old, his parents separated – and would later divorce. The family struggled financially, and it was around that time when his mother, JoLinda started dealing drugs. His mum was addicted to several substances including cigarettes, alcohol, heroin, and cocaine. JoLinda would get high with friends at her home, even in the presence of her children.
In an interview with ESPN, Wade said "I've seen the needles laying around the house. I've seen my mother shoot up before. I've seen a lot of things my mother didn't even know I'd seen as a kid." At the age of 6, he recalls police – with guns drawn – raiding his home as they searched for his mother. When Wade turned 8 years old, his older sister, Tragil, tricked him – by telling him they were going to the movies – into living with his father, a former Army sergeant, and stepmother in a nearby neighbourhood. Wade would still occasionally visit his mum. A year later, his father moved the family and Wade did not see his mother for two years. In 1994, JoLinda was arrested for possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell and locked up in Cook County Jail. Wade, at the age of 10, reunited with his mom by talking with her at Cook County Jail through a glass panel over a telephone. JoLinda served 23 months in prison for her crimes, but while serving her second sentence in 1997, she failed to report to prison while on work release. Wade turned to sports, especially basketball and football, to avoid the temptations of participating in drug and gang-related activities. Wade's mum and dad would often take him to the park to play basketball. He cites one of his older sisters, Tragil, as the individual most responsible for his childhood upbringing and for steering him in the proper direction. As a child growing up in the Chicago area, Wade idolized Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan, and has said he patterns his game after him.
Wade states that his high school coach, Jack Fitzgerald, was one of the most positive influences in his life during his school time and he succeeded going to Marquette University for their college team despite academic problems. During most of Wade's time at Marquette, his mother was either eluding the law or serving time in jail for selling crack cocaine. In October 2001, JoLinda declared that she would change her life and get clean while attending a service at a Chicago church. Wade went home for Christmas to be with his mum, who he believed was clean and sober for the first time in his life. However, JoLinda admitted to him that she was actually going back to prison. Wade told ESPN, "I was hurt because I felt like I was just getting my mum back, and now she had to leave again." On January 2, 2002, his mother went back to prison to serve her 14-month sentence. She says she has been clean since 2003.
To celebrate his final season, Dwyane Wade has been swapping jerseys with NBA legends. Before he said goodbye, he was surprised with five more.
Watch the 4 minute video of that encounter:
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