Although he’s played for the Miami Heat for 13 seasons, three of which ended in a NBA title, Dwyane Wade recently made the decision to return to his roots. The NBA star, who was born in Chicago, IL on January 17, 1982 is now a proud member of the Chicago Bulls after signing a two-year, $47.5 million deal. For Dwyane, it is a dream come true. After all, it was while watching the Chicago Bulls play as a child that he really became interested in the sport.
Despite being an NBA superstar who is destined for the NBA Hall of Fame, Dwyane has managed to keep a good bit of information about himself surprisingly quiet. From how he got involved with the game of basketball to why so few colleges were interested in recruiting him, here are 20 things you probably don’t know about Dwyane Wade.
1. He has a deep appreciation for fast food.
While he is an athlete, that doesn’t mean that Dwyane eats healthy food all the time. He has admitted to a love for all things McDonalds and Harold’s Chicken Shack, a restaurant found in Atlanta and Chicago, that serves fried chicken, as well as gizzards, giblets, lizards, and catfish. He also loves Home Run Inn Pizza, a beloved Chicago-area restaurant, that he will be able to eat more often now that he is playing for the Chicago Bulls. As far as home cooked food, he loves fried chicken and mashed potatoes.
2. Despite an above average high school basketball career, colleges were hesitant to recruit him.
His senior year of high school, he averaged 27.0 points per game and 11.0 rebounds per game. Due to academic concerns, most colleges opted to stay away from the Harold L. Richards High School graduate. In fact, only three schools (DePaul University, Illinois State, and Marquette University) opted to pursue him. He eventually decided on Marquette University, where he was accepted as a partial qualifier due to his low academic scores that made him ineligible to play in the beginning.
3. He would not mind being an announcer when his career ends.
Although he did not graduate college (he opted to forgo his senior year to enter the NBA draft), Dwyane did major in broadcast journalism. He has mentioned in several interviews that he would like to be a NBA announcer after he retires. While he may not have a degree, chances are that he won’t have a hard time finding a job if he opts to go that route.
4. Despite being only five years older than him, Dwyane’s sister, Tragil Wade, played a monumental role in how he was raised.
His parents divorced at a young age and custody of the siblings was awarded to their mother, even though she had a history of drug use. When he was eight years old, he and Tragil were living with their mother in a rough, high crime section of south Chicago. One day Tragil told him they were going to the movies, but instead she took him to their father’s house in a different neighborhood and left him. Within the year, his father had moved his family to Robbins, IL, a Chicago suburb where Dwyane started playing basketball. Would his life be the same if Tragil hadn’t taken him to their father that day? Probably not.
5. His marriage to Gabrielle Union was actually his second.
In 2002, at the young age of 20, Dwyane married his high school sweetheart, Siohvaughn Funches, after she gave birth to their first son, Zaire Blessing Dwyane Wade. In 2007, the couple welcomed their second son, Zion Malachi Airamis Wade, and hit a rough patch in their marriage. Soon after, they divorced and things turned ugly quickly. There were allegations of everything from abuse to kidnapping, but eventually in 2010 the divorce was finalized and the couple went their separate ways.
6. He actually has three children.
In addition to Zaire and Zion, he has a third son, Xavier Zechariah Wade, who was born in late 2013. His birth was announced just a week after Dwyane got engaged to Gabby Union. Dwyane explained that the baby was a “blessing,” he had fathered while on a break with Gabby. (His mother is Dwyane’s longtime friend, Aja Metoyer.) (On an interesting side note, Xavier’s half-siblings were fathered by Damon Wayans Jr.) In June 2007, he was named the 2007 Father of the Year by the National Father's Day Committee.
7. He is committed to giving back to charity.
Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Dwyane Wade gives back to charity, especially in the Chicago area. He started the Wade’s World Foundation, a community-based charity, and gives regularly to Blood, Water, and the Spirit Ministry, his hometown church in Chicago. (In fact, 10% of his salary goes to the church.) He also donates to Marquette University.
8. When he first started playing basketball, he was a point guard.
It was not until the 2004-2005 season that Dwyane transitioned to the position of shooting guard. This was recommended by Coach Stan Van Gundy. Today, he is considered by many in the sports world to be one of the top three players to ever play this position.
9. In addition to raising his two oldest sons full-time, he is also raising his nephew.
In 2014, Dwyane officially became the guardian of his then 12-year-old nephew, Dahveon Morris. Although Dwyane’s sister, Deanna Moriis, retains her parental rights, Dwyane is responsible for Dahveon financially. He lives with Dwyane, his wife, and two oldest sons.
10. Although they no longer play for the same team, LeBron James remains one of Dwyane’s best friends.
While appearing on an episode of Live with Kelly filmed right after he committed to the Chicago Bulls, Dwyane and his wife, Gabby, mentioned that he is still very close friends with his old teammate. In fact, they take vacations together, ride on banana boats together, and even drink red wine together. In other words, they are “the best of friends.” Dwyane also mentioned that LeBron is a bit cheap and refused to use his cell phone without Wifi for fear of having to pay data overage fees.
11. There is a reason his name is spelled incorrectly.
When he was born, Dwyane’s name was meant to be spelled Dwayne. However, on his birth certificate, it was spelled Dwyane. His parents decided it was just easier to leave it that way than go through the long process of having it changed back to its original spelling.
12. Today, he wears Chicago Bulls gear every single day.
After thirteen long years of playing with the Miami Heat, Dwyane admitted at the 2016 Espy Awards that it was taking some time for him to get used to being a Chicago Bull. To help him make the transition, he has taken to wearing their clothing every day. He said, "So when I put on Chicago Bulls basketball gear — which I've put on every day since I got the gear because I'm trying to get used to it as well; don't get me wrong — but it rings a little different in my ear than probably it rings to the rest of the world."
13. He is a huge fan of fashion.
It is important to know that fashion is a huge part of Dwyane’s life. In the past he has been named to Esquire magazine’s Best Dressed Men in the World list, as well as the Best Dressed NBA Player by GQ. In addition, Forbes Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Styleite.com have all named him one of the world’s best dressed athletes at one time or another. Finally, in July 2015, he was named the Inaugural New York Men’s Fashion Week Ambassador. In other words, he is dedicated to being well dressed at all times . As an added bonus, he was named one of People’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2005.
14. He has big plans to start his own fashion line.
Now that you know he is a huge fan of fashion, it should no come as a big surprise that he has dreams of starting his own fashion line. Keep in mind that he already has a signature sneaker line with Li-Ning. In a recent interview he said about his own fashion label, “That’s naturally the next step in this journey." According to Dwyane, his line would be “made up of pieces to create the perfect uniform for every man’s life. It would be both functional and stylish. The complete line will be interchangeable, making every outfit effortless.”
15. When he married Gabrielle Union a prenuptial agreement was signed. It was her idea.
After Dwyane’s not particularly nice divorce from his first wife, it would be easy to assume he asked Gabby to sign a prenup. (While she is a star, his net worth is considerably more.) Actually, this wasn’t the case. She asked him for one. In an interview with US Magazine, she said, "Now that it's time to get married to a man who happens to play basketball and has done well for himself, I want to make it clear that I have in no way hitched my wagon to his star. I have my own wagon and star." In other words, she did not want to be seen as a gold digger and who can really blame her? By the way, she also said in a 2014 interview on The Arsenio Hall Show, “I’ve never seen Dwyane balance a checkbook. I have to protect my stuff.”
16. While we are on the topic of Dwyane’s wife, she is almost a decade older than he is.
While she definitely does not look it, Gabrielle Union is 43-years-old, having been born on October 29, 1972. Keep in mind that Dwyane was born on January 17, 1982. Yes, she is more than nine years older than he is, but that doesn’t seem to bother Dwyane.
17. He is a New York Times Bestselling author.
In 2013, Dwyane Wade wrote and published A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball, which detailed his struggles of being a single dad to Zaire and Zion. It also discussed his life growing up and his rise to one of the NBA’s best players in history. Not only did the book hit the NYT Bestseller’s List, but it also received rave reviews from critics and fans who read the book for themselves.
18. At one time, the FOX Network was working on a TV show based on his life.
In 2013, Fox announced they were working to develop a comedy show based on Dwyane’s life tentatively called Three the Hard Way. (Not to be confused with the 1974 movie by the same name.) The show centered on a former NBA player, Daryl Wade, who was raising his two sons on his own. Unfortunately, talk of the eventually just faded away. However, FOX does still own the rights to the show, so we may finally see it brought to live at some point in time.
19. Dwyane Wade is incredibly proud of the changes his mother has made in her life.
While Dwayne was growing up, his mother, Jolinda Wade, struggled with a severe addiction to cocaine, heroin and alcohol . She was incarcerated on more than one occasion for months at a time. She even spent more than a year in prison for selling drugs in an effort to support her habit. (In fact, she missed five straight years of basketball games in his final years of high school and first years of college.) In 2001, she was attending a church service in Chicago when she decided it was time to change her life. At that time in her life, she had failed to return to a work release program and was sent back to prison before being released on March 5, 2003.
In 2007, she had been clean for several years and was ordained as a Baptist preacher. At the same time, Dwyane, who was obviously thrilled by her accomplishments (and rightly so), paid $2 million to purchase a Chicago church for her. Today, she is still clean and runs a ministry that aims to help others do the same.
20. While he may have started his life as very poor, this is no longer an issue Dwyane Wade has to worry about.
Dwyane has admitted that at one point in his life, his family was on Welfare. Today, that will never be the case. His net worth is estimated to be around $95 and $159 million with much more to come, thanks to his newest contract with the Chicago Bulls. In addition to his lucrative basketball career, he also makes plenty of money from various endorsement deals.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker