Q&A: Dwyane Wade on Being 'A Father First'
The NBA All-Star discusses his new book--and shooting hoops with the president
Dwyane Wade is an eight-time NBA All-Star and two-time world champion guard for the Miami Heat. One of the most popular players in the league, Wade has lately been drawing praise for his performance off the court.
Wade is a single full-time father of two, a distinction unprecedented for an athlete of his caliber and notoriety. But the 30-year-old survived a troubled childhood of his own on Chicago’s South Side, and fought hard to gain full custody of his two sons, Zaire and Zion, after a very public and bitter 2007 divorce from his high school sweetheart, Siohvaughn Funches.
Now, the all-star athlete has chronicled his life in his new book, “A Father First” in which Wade explains what fatherhood means to him. It’s a genuinely touching book that is remarkable for having been written by a role model to thousands of boys and young men.
With great heart and tenderness, Wade recounts an at-risk childhood spent dodging gang recruiters and watching his mother slide into addiction. He was sent to live with his father at the age of 8 at the urging of his older sister. It was there that he learned discipline and the rudiments of basketball – and life.
All the while there was clearly something inside driving him to exceed expectations and strive for more. Now that he’s achieved greatness on the court, Wade’s devotion to his sons is all the more moving when you consider the countless other lifestyle choices a rich and famous single young athlete could make for himself.
Wade spoke with Parenting.com about his book, fatherhood and shooting hoops with Barack Obama. Excerpts:
Why write this book?
To lend myself as an example, share my life experiences, share my failures--my divorce, my mom being addicted to drugs, everything I deal with in my life. There are other people in the world dealing with the same issues I did. And these issues don’t have a color. I focus on everything.
What was your experience putting it down in writing?
This is a time where a lot of positive light is being shown on being a good father and an understanding that there is a need for it. There is a generational moment of people speaking out about it more so than not. Once I started writing down everything I went through, people would approach me about it. And either it was them wanting advice, or them telling me that what I was going through resonated with them.
Where did this deep-seated desire to be a good father come from?
I just feel like I was bred to be and wanted to be a dad.