Professional basketball player
Born Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr., January 17, 1982, in Chicago, IL; son of Dwyane Sr. and Jolinda Wade; married Siohvaugn Fuches, 2002; children: Zaire (son). Education: Attended Marquette University, 2000–03.
Addresses: Office—Miami Heat, American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132.
Partial qualifier for Marquette University's basketball team, 2000–01; became full-time player for Marquette, 2001–03; entered National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, 2003; selected with the fifth pick in the first round of the draft by the Miami Heat, 2003; played guard for the Miami Heat, 2003–; played for the United States at the Summer Olympics, Athens, Greece, 2004; played in first NBA All-Star Game, 2005; signed endorsement deal with Converse, 2005; signed endorsement deals with Warren Henry Motors, Gatorade, and McDavid Hex Pad, 2005; won first NBA championship with the Heat, 2006; signed contract extension with the Heat, 2006.
Awards: First team All-Conference USA, 2002; honorable mention All-America, Associated Press, 2002; preseason player of the year award, Conference USA, 2003; consensus first team All-America, 2003; named to Wooden Award All-America team, 2003; named most valuable player, Midwest Regional NCAA finals, 2003; Conference USA Player of the Year, 2003; defensive player of the year, Conference USA, 2003; first team All-Conference USA, 2003; Eastern Conference player of the week, National Basketball Association (NBA), 2003; named to NBA all-rookie first-team, 2004; NBA's Community Assist Award (with others), 2004; Eastern Conference player of the month, NBC, 2004; bronze medal with USA Basketball Team, Summer Olympic Games, 2004; All-NBA defensive second team, 2004–05; Eastern Conference All-Star team member, 2005; Eastern Conference player of the week, NBA, 2005; Eastern Conference player of the month, NBA, 2005; ESPY award for best breakthrough athlete, 2005; Dwyane Wade Legacy of Leadership Award, Marquette University, 2005; named to All-NBA second team, 2006; named to NBA All-Defensive second team, 2006; NBA Final most valuable player award, 2006.
Dwyane Wade emerged as one of the best young players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in his first three seasons in the league. The 6'4" Wade played guard for the Miami Heat, and with his team, won the 2006 NBA championship for which he was named the Final's Most Valuable Player. Wade was known for his quickness, his humble and professional demeanor, and for having a complete game.
Born in January of 1982 in Chicago, Illinois, Wade is the son of Dwyane Sr. and his wife, Jolinda. His parents ended their relationship when Wade was quite young, and he was raised by his struggling mother and older sister, Tragil, in inner-city Chicago for several years. When Wade was eight, he went to live with his father in the suburbs where life was safer and less stressful. There, he played basketball with father and stepbrothers.
By the time Wade was a junior at Richards High School in Oaklawn, Illinois, he was emerging as a star basketball player. He showed his prowess on defense while still scoring well. As a senior, Wade lived with the family of his girlfriend, Siohvaugn Fuches, because of his father's marital problems, but continued to improve his game. He was the seventh in voting for Illinois' Mr. Basketball based on his senior season play. Yet Wade was not highly recruited by colleges until the very end of his high school playing career.
In 2000, Wade entered Marquette University, where he became a broadcasting major. He spent three seasons playing college ball for the Golden Eagles. In his first year, 2000–01, Wade only practiced with the team and offered advice to coach Tom Crean during games. He was a partial qualifier under NCAA rules due to his low ACT score. Wade did well in the classroom in college and was allowed to play with the team during his sophomore year.
As a sophomore, Wade showed how much his skills as a player improved. He led the team in several categories by averaging 17.8 points per game, 6.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.5 steals. In nine games, Wade scored more than 20 points. He also set a record for sophomore players at Marquette by scoring 571 total points during the year.
During the off-season in 2002, Wade married Fuches, his childhood sweetheart, who soon gave birth to their child, a son named Zaire. By the start of his junior year, some observers considered Wade one the best players in Conference USA. Yet he also had much to work on as well, such as improving his perimeter shooting, offensive rebounding, and ball handling. Wade worked hard on these areas and showed how much progress he had made in the 2002–03 season.
Wade became a leader for Golden Eagles. He was also the leading scorer on the season for Marquette's conference, Conference USA, by averaging 21.5 points per game. In addition, Wade was second in the conference in steals per game with 2.2. Wade had 21 games in which he scored at least 20 points and set a school record for most points scored in a single season with 710. Wade was a finalist for the Wooden Award.
While Wade did well for himself and received a number of individual honors, the Golden Eagles also won the Conference USA title. In the NCAA tournament, the team went to its first Final Four since 1977. During the Midwest Regional Final game, Wade had Marquette's first triple-double in nearly a decade when he had 29 points, eleven rebounds, and eleven assists. He was named the most valuable player of the Midwest Regional Final. Tom Kertes of Basketball Digest wrote of the young player, "Wade is a superstar-plus. He plays higher above the rim—both mentally and physically—than any other player in the country." Wade left Marquette in 2003 to enter the NBA draft. Though Wade only played for two complete seasons, he was the Golden Eagles' 20th leading scorer with 1,281 points. The university later named an award after him, the Dwyane Wade Legacy of Leadership Award, with Wade receiving the first honor in 2005.
With the fifth pick in the first round, Wade was drafted by the Miami Heat. Wade was happy to be with the Heat, who were glad to have him. Heat coach Pat Riley believed Wade's game would translate well to the NBA. Riley told Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press State & Local Wire, "Not only can he defend, he can score, get to the basket, rebound, deflect. He's an absolutely complete player who's going to get better. We are absolutely excited with this pick."
Wade did well in his rookie year in 2003–04. He played in 61 games, averaging 16.2 points per game. Wade was a unanimous selection to the NBA All-Rookie First Team at season's end. This marked the first time a Miami Heat player was so honored in a unanimous way. Wade was also named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month in February of 2004, another first time a Miami Heat rookie was so honored. In addition, Wade finished third in Rookie of the Year voting after LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. In the playoffs, the Heat made the Eastern Conference Semifinals before losing to the Indiana Pacers. After the season's end, Wade was selected to be a member of the USA Basketball National Team. He played with the USA team in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, winning a bronze medal. Wade only averaged 7.3 points per game at the Olympics.
Wade's game and the Heat improved greatly in 2004–05. The Heat traded for superstar center Shaquille O'Neal in the off-season. O'Neal took the young Wade under his wing and nicknamed him "Flash." Wade was content to play the sidekick role to O'Neal, respecting and learning from the older player.
Wade's numbers improved from his rookie year. He played in 77 games, averaging 24.1 points per game. Wade set a single-season Heat record by scoring 1,854 points for the year and making the most free throws with 581. He was selected for his first All-Star Game, among other honors. Wade showed he wanted to win by saving games with his aggressive, sometimes extraordinary play, but he did not seek the limelight. In the playoffs, the Heat nearly made the finals, but lost to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games.
As Wade's career was taking off in the basketball court, he began signing endorsement deals. He appeared in his first commercial for Converse sneakers early in 2005. That fall, he signed a deal with the shoe manufacturer to become its primary endorser and the face of the brand. Wade soon had his own signature Converse shoe. Wade also made other significant endorsement deals with Warren Henry Motors, Gatorade and McDavid Hex Pad.
In 2005–06, Wade put up the best numbers of his young career. Appearing in 75 regular seasons games, he averaged a career-high 27.2 points per game. Wade sometimes had to carry the team because of injuries to other key players, but his numbers only improved. Wade made his second All-Star Game appearance, scoring 20 points in only 30 minutes of play.
With O'Neal, Wade led the Heat to the 2006 NBA Finals and a championship, despite soreness in his knees and a bout with the flu. The Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks in four games. Wade played the best in the finals, where he averaged 34.7 points per game, after averaging 26.7 points per game in the Conference Finals and 27.6 points per game in the Conference Semifinals. Wade was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. Riley told Phil Miller of the Salt Lake Tribune, "He just took it to another level, you all witnessed it. Players like that are very hard to come by, and to watch them grow right in front of you … he's making his legacy."
In the 2006 off-season, Wade signed a three-year contract extension with a player option for a fourth season. The new contract with the Heat begins in 2007, potentially runs through 2011, and is worth around $63 million. After his playing career ends, Wade is considering pursuing a career as a sports broadcaster, but for now the focus is on his game. The Heat's Riley believed in Wade's excellence both on and off the court, telling Jill Lieber of USA Today, "Life's not measured by the number of breaths one takes, but by the moments that take your breath away. There's an awe about Dwyane, not only in his game but in his whole approach to life. His sincerity, his humility. All of those things are strengths when it comes to greatness."
Associated Press State & Local Wire, June 26, 2003.
Basketball Digest, February 2003, p. 12.
brandweek.com, October 28, 2005.
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), November 25, 2001, p. D17.
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 10, 1999, p. 12.
Daily News (New York, NY), April 27, 2005, p. 70; June 15, 2006, p. 80.
Miami Herald, November 22, 2005.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI), June 8, 2006.
Newsweek, May 23, 2005, p. 52.
Salt Lake Tribune, June 21, 2006.
Sports Illustrated, March 17, 2003, p. 35.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, MO), January 7, 2003, p. D10.
USA Today, February 18, 2005, p. 8C.
"As expected, Wade signs shorter contract with Heat," ESPN.com, http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/story?id=2516735 (August 19, 2006).
"Dwyane Wade," USA Basketball, http://www.usabasketball.com/biosmen/Dwyane_wade_bio.html (August 14, 2006).
"Player Profile: Dwyane Wade," NBA.com, http://www.nba.com/playerfile/Dwyane_wade/printable_player_files.html (August 14, 2006).
"Prospect Profile: Dwyane Wade," NBA.com, http://www.nba.com/draft2003/profiles/WadeDwyane.html (August 14, 2006).