ML - Michigan Avenue

Michigan Avenue - 2016 - Issue 6 - Winter - Dwyane Wade

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 117 of 179

How has the adjustment been to playing on a new team? I had so many different teams in Miami; in my 13 years I've played with so many different guys, so this is similar to that—it's like coming to training and playing with different teammates. Obviously my surroundings are different, and a lot of things are going on in terms of getting the kids in school and moving into a new house, but from the standpoint of basketball, nothing's changed. It's just basketball. I'm trying to learn different terminology and get comfortable in coach's system, but when we're out there playing, the jersey at that point doesn't matter to me as much as doing my job. How has the dynamic been with your new teammates? We've got a lot of young guys on this team, and one thing that's cool this year [is that] these guys are very open to my form of leadership. They understand that I'm a three- time champion, so their ears and eyes are open to the things I have to say to them. They watch me and see what I do and how I take care of my body, how I'm the first one in the gym and I'm the last one to leave most days. Me and [Rajon] Rondo are probably tied for coming first and leaving last [laughs]. And just trying to say to them, be a professional. What are you most excited about for this first season? Just to see how it goes. Individually, I want to see how I respond. I'm turning 35 years old this year, and that's not a spring chicken in the NBA, so I'm always looking forward to the challenge of seeing how I'm able to keep defying odds. And then as a team, just trying to get this team back on the right path…We'll make it our mission to make the playoffs and then go from there. What has the response been from people in Chicago to you becoming a Bull? It's been great—everywhere I go I get a warm ovation, some places I walk in I get hand claps, and a lot of people come up to me saying it's a very cool thing. Obviously a lot of people would've loved to see me get drafted here in '03… or in 2010, but I'm here now, and I deeply appreciate being here. It's exciting. With all of your previous success, what's left for you to achieve? Just to continue to go out and do [my] job, and what comes with it comes with it. When I came into this league, my goal was to be the best player that I can be, and I'm still trying to be that—the best 34-year-old, the best 35-year- old, etc., until I decide to hang it up. I want to be successful. I don't play for anything but trying to be the best for the team. Obviously the city is struggling with an incredible violence problem, which you've experienced personally with the death of your cousin Nykea Aldridge. As someone who has been so active in trying to make young kids' lives better, what do you think Chicago needs to turn things around? There are so many issues, and it's going to take a long time to see through all of them. I think the one thing that I try to do and that I think would benefit Chicago is try to focus on a need and try to make that need better. You can't fix them all. For my foundation, we want to attack the [issue of] the youth, the future, and try to get them now… helping put an infrastructure in their lives, because then they can change things. Talk about your connection to the Willie Mae Morris Empowerment Center—what does that project mean to you? I bought my mom a building years ago, and she started her own foundation out of it. The building was so huge I didn't know what we [would do with all the space], but I always had a vision and my mom had a vision of a center where kids could be helped with after-school programs, for kids to have the opportunity to live their dreams out and have courses that help them with those dreams. So my mom put it in motion in Chicago and she and my sisters have been working on it for a few years. Without me they put the walls up, [envisioning] what it could be, and now it's about me and my team figuring out how we can best utilize the space and get the empowerment center going. I think it could be something great for the community, and that's what I call legacy—if we're able to do something special there, that to me is a bigger legacy than what I can do in the game of basketball. A lot of professional athletes right now, like Colin Kaepernick and the WNBA Indiana Fever players, are protesting racial inequality by taking a knee during the national anthem. What's your perspective on that? I love the fact that athletes are using their platform—they're using their voice and getting behind the things that they believe in. We all have freedom of speech; we all have the right to say and do the things we want, and they're doing it, so I applaud them for it. I'm one of the guys who got on stage [with Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and LeBron James] at the ESPY awards [and gave] a call to action to athletes to stand up and use their voice, so it's great to see athletes doing that. As a father, how do you talk to your kids about what's going on in Chicago and across the nation right now? The one thing we try to do, me and my wife, is be honest and open with them as much as possible. We try to show them things that are going on; obviously, they're older [so] they hear about things, and we sit down and talk about it. There's no answer—I can't say "Hey, if you do XYZ, it's going to go XYZ"—but we try to prepare them for what the possibilities could be and show them what's going on in the world today. You've been outspoken about how important fatherhood is in your life; how has your appreciation for fatherhood changed as your kids have gotten older? My appreciation's always been there. I know how important my dad was in my life for sure, and I knew that I wanted to play a bigger role in my kids' lives. I've always thought that's one of the most important things I have to do in my life; when God allowed me to be a father of my boys, I knew that was my most important job—to help raise future leaders in this world, and hopefully we can succeed in our dream of doing that. . PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOE ROBBINS/GETTY IMAGES New uniform, same will to succeed: Dwyane Wade brings the ball up court in one of his first preseason games as a Chicago Bull.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of ML - Michigan Avenue - Michigan Avenue - 2016 - Issue 6 - Winter - Dwyane Wade