When the Miami Heat drafted Dwyane Wade with the fifth overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, the 6-4 shooting guard from Marquette University was relatively unknown to the average hoops fan. That quickly changed as he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team and subsequently launched into a highly successful career that has since included three NBA championships, 12 NBA All-Star Games, and a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
After 13 seasons in Miami, Wade recently made the surprising jump to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls in what is assuredly the final chapter of his basketball life. In this CSJ conversation with managing editor Chad Bonham, Wade talks about his faith in God, his belief in biblical principles, and how he hopes to leave his mark on the game:
Chad Bonham: How has your faith helped you deal with the unpredictable nature of the NBA lifestyle?
Dwyane Wade: There are going to be good time and bad times. There are going to be people who love me and there are going to be people who don’t love me. As long as you are real with yourself knowing that you’re still human even though some people put you on a pedestal. I know that I have to be the same person no matter if people like me or not.
Bonham: You’ve been quoted in the past about your belief in the biblical principle of tithing. Why is that it important to you?
Wade: I’m a firm believer in the Bible. I believe everything in there. I’m given so much. So giving 10 percent back to God is nothing to me. That’s why I do it, and I don’t think twice about it.
Bonham: What are some specific ways that you can impact the NBA beyond your performance on the court?
Wade: Being a positive role model to kids and to the community. That’s what the NBA needs, more positive role models for kids. Kids need someone they can dream about becoming. I want to be that person now that I’m in a position to be a positive role model.
Bonham: What message do you hope to convey to young people that look up to you as a role model?
Wade: I try to tell kids that there are going to be people in your life that try to tell you that you can’t do something. There were people in my life that told me that I couldn’t make it to this point in the NBA. I’ve believed in God and my abilities to get to this point. Always believe in yourself no matter what anyone may say to you.
(Photo: NBA Images)