For 16 years, the world has known Dwyane Wade as one of the most prolific basketball players in NBA history, becoming 13 times All-Star, eight-time All-NBA team member and Olympic gold medalist. .
Yet Wade’s career has also been defined by major moves outside of court – as an increasingly watched philanthropist, producer, and figure of speech known for his progressive looks from designers such as Fear of God, Dior Men. and Thom Browne. It has also had an exclusive partnership with Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning for nearly a decade, collaborating with them on a multitude of shoe models, clothing collections and collaborative projects.
Having recently been announced as one of the 75 Greatest NBA Players of All Time, Wade has conclusively proven that he is more than a basketball player: he has become a true culture icon. pop. This is the right time, so for the release of his memoirs Dwyane, in which Wade reflects on his journey and talks about inspirations and the best lessons learned throughout his life so far.
For the book launch, Wade caught up with HYPEBEAST to give fans a glimpse into his life on and off the pitch, while also sharing his take on current streetwear culture.
“I stand here because I have rubbed shoulders with greatness and greatness uplifted me.
HYPEBEAST: In your 16 NBA seasons, you have played with and against many legendary names. Which of these moments stands out the most?
DWYANE WADE: I didn’t have the chance to play against [Michael] Jordan, who is my all-time favorite player, but I’ve been fortunate enough to play against others like Kobe Bryant. I played on the Olympic team in 2004 with Allen Iverson and in 2008 with Kobe. Playing against these guys was surreal. The thing is to grow up, you walk like them, chew gum like them, then you step into the league and they are now your competition and opponent. But having these moments with AI, having these moments with Kobe. They mean all the more that I get further and further away from the game.
While playing for the Heat, you had some amazing teammates. Do you think you would have achieved the same level of play and achievement without them?
No. When I was announced as one of the top 75 players in the NBA the only thing I said was I stand here because I have been around greatness and greatness has lifted me up. . And so if I don’t play with Shaquille O’Neal, I don’t play it with Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, Antoine Walker LeBron James, Chris Bosh and the list goes on, then I’m not as good as you think to be. So greatness uplifted me and I got better because I’ve been around greatness. My life is enriched by this so I am super grateful.
Playing with LeBron or playing against LeBron?
I love playing with LeBron for years, the Olympics, all-star games, loved playing this guy. Prepare for those matches in the locker room, put on your shoes knowing you are about to face the king. It is special. We’ve had so many iconic moments and so many iconic matches against each other. Ultimately, ultimately, such greatness brings out the best in you. So you want to compete with the best and I was lucky enough to compete with him for 11 years of my 16 year career and five of them I was his teammate.
How do you think your Miami Heat period compares to the current franchise era?
The only thing you see and you know there was Alonzo Mourning before me, there was a Tim Hardaway before me, a Rony Seiklay, all these players. I passed and a bar was placed and I jumped over that bar. All I did was raise the bar a little higher for the next generation to come and jump over it too.
What I did in Miami has never been taken from me. I have banners all around this place. But they are moving forward. There will be another Dwyane Wade in a way like it won’t be me but it will be another player who challenges me as the biggest player in the organization and that’s what you should want. You should want the game to continue, you should want those players to keep jumping over that bar. So what I did there, I can’t add anything more. That’s all I had, and nothing else. It was good enough to make my grandchildren proud because in the end, that’s what it’s going to come down to. I want my grandchildren to be proud of me.
Have you always been patient in your career or have you slowly evolved over your three league wins?
I don’t think I am patient. I think I am an impatient human being. But losing will make you patient. You go through the stages. Even in 2010 when we got together with the Big Three, we couldn’t see it. We had to go through the process, we had to go through the steps. My patience comes with the understanding that we are all imperfect human beings. I must have patience and understanding to know that I watched you do the job. I come back to you, every time I come back to the next game. Definitely, as a leader to be able to lead my guys in a way that needs to be.
Fashion and basketball have become synonymous over the years. What have been the biggest influences in your fashion and footwear projects?
What I’ve always loved about fashion is creative expression. I love that the shirt I decide to put on, the jewelry I decided to put on, even the socks, express how I feel that day. My style has changed over time because I feel different at times. It’s an expression. I love to be part of the fashion community. I like to learn as much as possible.
What is your take on today’s street and luxury collaborations that we see so much nowadays?
I love the emergence of streetwear in luxury. To be able to have someone like Virgil who can understand the need for both parties to come together and have a time together is just amazing. Personally, as an athlete, I am primarily streetwear. Luxury comes second. To be able to have brands and individuals trying to bring fashion to a place it hasn’t been before and someone like me spending a lot of money on fashion, thank you very much. Thank you for pushing the envelope away, for not leaving it out of date and still in the same place. Fashion moves forward and moves faster than some people would like. But for me, I think we continue.
You called the transition from Jordan Brand and Nike to Li-Ning a game-changer. What went through your mind when many tried to advise against this decision?
I was 30 at the time and I’m more in my corporate hat than my athletic hat at this point. My best years are all behind me and in my mind I think about the legacy, about building something. I think of Michael Jordan. I think about what he built and the plan that was laid out and I thought, why not go out and try and do something different for an athlete in my position in the game at the time. I was thinking of Zaire, Kaav, my family when I thought of building something that they can hopefully be proud of and that can last for generations.
As you reflect on your entire journey, what lessons would you like to pass on to the next generation of promising athletes and creatives?
What I’m going to say is simple, but that’s what I’m telling myself. It’s about the work you do. In basketball, I understand that God gave me a gift and it was up to me to nurture this gift and work on this gift. I wasn’t going to be great just because he gave me talent. He gave me a gift that I really had to work on – therefore, hard work.
Off the pitch, I always say be authentic to who you are. It makes your life easier if you don’t wear a mask. But I think we all wear masks sometimes. I think we all try to find each other, no matter how old we are. But the faster you can and as much as you can to be authentic to the brand you are trying to have, then you can just show up and be yourself. This is the information and knowledge that I try to impart to guys who also want to be successful outside of their sport.
Do you hope that your son Zaire will follow in your footsteps?
It’s really not my hope. I have said several times in Zaire that it was Zaire’s dream. Basketball is a children’s game and a childhood dream. I have already achieved my childhood dream and now he is trying to achieve his. It happens to be in the same area as mine. But this is his dream and he is going to have to get out of it as he wants to see this dream unfold.
The goal for me was to come together each day and I hope that at the end of these difficult days, I put a good life together for my family. This is what my wife and I do. We are trying to build a good life and give our children opportunities. It sounds simple, but not everyone gets the chance. I want to give them the opportunity to go and be who they want to be.