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An Interview With Dwyane Wade

The Miami Heat star talks titles, shooting hoops with Obama, and those goofy glasses.

Photo: Garrett Ellwood / NBAE via Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

You led the Heat to the title back in ’06. How does this year’s championship compare, with LeBron and Chris Bosh on board?
Both were awesome, but what made this one more gratifying was not only every­thing we went through as a team—going back to last season when we all de­cided to play together—but all I’ve been through personally. Getting divorced, going through an ugly custody battle. So when we won, so many emotions went through me. The last time we won a championship, I was 24 and worry-free.

People may not realize that during this year’s finals your ex alleg­edly abducted your kids. How were you able to focus on basketball?
I’m not going to say it was easy, but being able to put things in perspective and focus is one of my greatest strengths. I think it was a test to see how strong I am.

Was that one of the reasons for your book, A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball?
You know, I never wanted to write a book so early in my career, because it felt like I hadn’t gone through enough in my life. But after everything I went through last season, the good and the bad, I felt I had enough experiences to shed some light.

What was it like to be the bad guy after so many years as one of the most popular players in the league?
It was weird. I mean, I’d never been booed before! And I felt like we’d done some­thing unselfish, so for fans to think we’d done something bad was indescribable.

During the finals, it seemed like you and LeBron were having a style contest with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Thunder. Who do you think won?
It wasn’t even close. We’re way better dressers than they are.

I dunno. Even LeBron seemed to think those “Dwayne Wayne” glasses went a bit far.
I was holding that in my back pocket for a while. I’ve been called Dwayne Wayne so many times over the years, and we were all going heavy with the glasses, so I thought I would really shut it down.

Well, on his third album Kanye West even says, “In two years Dwayne Wayne became Dwyane Wade.”
Anytime an artist puts your name in a song, it’s unbelievable. It never gets old.

And on Watch the Throne, Kanye and Jay-Z compare themselves to you and LeBron. So…who’s your favorite rapper?
Man, that’s tough. Kanye’s from Chicago like me, but Jay-Z is the greatest ever.

Now he co-owns the Brooklyn Nets!
I know, it’s incredible. I just looked at the schedule, and we play them the fifth or sixth game of the year. That’s going to be awesome, man. It’s going to be a packed house, and we’re going to give the fans what they came for. I can’t wait.

The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony is one of your pals. How is it facing him?
Well, Melo, LeBron, Bosh, and I were all drafted in ’03, and it was really cool in the play­offs to look at the court and see four of the top five picks going against each other. It was tough, though. You want to win so bad, but you also want to see your friends do well. Just not too well!

What about playing in Chicago?
When I first got in the league, it was uncomfortable, but over the past three years I’ve embraced it. My grandma is 92, and she’s not always going to be able to see me play. But she gets to see me in Chicago. And I’m a big Bears fan, so I’m always looking at my calendar to see when I can come back and catch a game.

Do you think you could have played in the NFL?
Looking from the outside, I think if I had kept at it, I would have been a pretty good receiver. But I don’t think I could have been Randy Moss or anything.

Speaking of Chicago, President Obama is a big basketball fan. Have you played with him?
Yeah, I got a chance to shoot with him at the White House on his 49th birthday. He invited a bunch of guys: LeBron, Carmelo, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose.

It must be nice to set up a game and get the best players out there.
Yeah, not bad at all. I guess that’s what you get when you’re the most powerful man in the world.

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