NBPA.com’s Talia Bargil caught up with two-time NBA Champion and eight-time NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade, who donated his entire paycheck from last week’s Knicks home opener against the Heat to Hurricane Sandy relief.
Q: Why is it important during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy for the sports industry, in particular, to step up and support the recovery efforts?
Too whom much is given, much is required. Obviously, as professional athletes, we are given a lot. We get so much support from different cities and different communities, and we need to provide that support back when there’s an opportunity to do so.
Madison Square Garden is my favorite place to play away games, and the community near there is hurting. There’s a lot that needs to be done.
Q: Why did you decide to write your book “A Father First” now, as opposed to after you retired from playing ball?
I didn’t feel the book was about basketball. I felt that there was a need now to talk about parenting and fatherhood, the need to bring up certain things that I was dealing with in my life. As I know firsthand through my foundation, there are so many people dealing with similar things that I dealt with as a kid, and people today are affected by some of the things that I deal with as a father. As a person who has this platform, I wanted to talk about it and give people hope through my successes and my failures in life.
Q: NBA veteran Etan Thomas recently published a book about fatherhood too, and other players have spoken publicly about it as well. Why do you think so many players are talking about this subject?
I guess it’s a time when more men are stepping up and letting their voices be heard. I actually have Etan’s book. I read it, and I think he’s a great role model. I had an opportunity to meet him at the White House for a fatherhood event a couple years ago.
Q: Although you’ve been overseas several times since joining the NBA, what was it like to travel to China for the pre-season with your entire Miami Heat squad?
It was cool to go there and see how big the game of basketball – and the Miami Heat – really is. And it was great to build that team bond out of the country. I was glad that some of my teammates who haven’t had the opportunity to go over there were able to see for themselves how huge our game is…and that it means a lot to more than fans in Miami and across the U.S. It means a lot to everyone around the world.
Q: Coming off of a Championship season, what’s the next goal for this team? What’s your outlook on this season?
We just want to stay healthy, that’s the biggest thing for this team. We have a very good team – there’s no secret about that – but we do have to get better and continue to get back into the groove. And we have some new players who need to continue to learn our system.
This year, it’s about staying healthy, staying humble, and understanding what we came together for. Even though we won it last year, our goal was never to win one championship. It was to put ourselves in a position to win many, so hopefully we can do that.