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Dwyane Wade Talks Hall of Fame Induction and Political Hopes


When the Miami Heat chosen Dwyane Wade with the fifth pick of the 2003 N.B.A. draft, the league was in dire need of star players to hold it out of the Michael Jordan era.

Wade’s draft class — which also featured LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony — ended up fitting the bill after which some. Wade immediately became one in all the league’s hottest players, and his Miami teammate Shaquille O’Neal gave him the catchy nickname Flash. It was apt — Wade routinely attacked the rim with snazzy spin moves and finished with highlight-reel dunks and layups on his technique to winning three championships.

This weekend, Wade might be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a feat that seemed inevitable as he piled up accolades over a 16-year profession. He made 13 All-Star teams, led the league in scoring once and was named the most respected player of the 2006 N.B.A. finals, which Miami won over Dallas.

“To give you the option to be one in all those select few out of a whole generation of people that have tried to play the sport of basketball and to give you the option to walk into the Hall of Fame, it doesn’t matter if I knew 10 years ago or I just got the decision yesterday — all of it feels surreal,” Wade said in a recent interview.

Since retiring in 2019, Wade has acquired an ownership stake within the Utah Jazz and the W.N.B.A. team in his hometown Chicago, the Sky. Within the spring, Wade revealed that he had moved his family out of Florida to California due to state laws that negatively affect the L.G.B.T.Q. community. Wade’s teenage daughter, Zaya, is transgender, and Wade has been outspoken on her behalf.

Wade recently spoke to The Latest York Times about his basketball profession and potentially running for political office.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

You grew up within the South Side of Chicago without very much. If you retired, the previous President Barack Obama taped a tribute video to you. How do you reflect on that journey?

My dad and I speak about it. We still can’t imagine it. We still can’t imagine the N.B.A. profession happened and it’s passed by. I got a call from President Obama on my birthday after I turned 40, and it was like: “Hey, pick up the phone right now. There’s going to be a call coming.” I’m like, “OK.” Once I got on, I heard, “You’re waiting for the president of the US.” I used to be like: “What? That is my life, right?”

Your first N.B.A. game was against Allen Iverson. You’re having a little bit of a full-circle moment this weekend by having him induct you. Why did you choose him?

Michael Jordan was my favorite player. But as I used to be growing up as a child, as Michael Jordan decided to retire from the sport, Allen Iverson became the hero of our culture. I feel a variety of people know I wear No. 3, but a variety of people don’t know why I wear No. 3. And so I just desired to take this moment as a chance that’s speculated to be about me, and I desired to give you the option to shine light and provides flowers to individuals that allow me and help me get here. My family, in fact. My coaches, in fact. My teammates, in fact.

But what about those individuals that gave you the image of what it looks like and the way it might probably be done? And Allen Iverson gave me the image of the way it looks like, the way it might be done coming from the broken community that I got here from. So I would like to provide him his flowers in front of the world because he deserves it.

You’re being inducted alongside Dirk Nowitzki, with whom you had, let’s call it a tense relationship at points. What’s your relationship with him like now?

I respect Dirk as one in all the best players that ever played this game of basketball. It’s funny to have something with someone and we’ve never guarded one another. We played totally different positions, but as I’ve all the time said, if I’m going to have any words with anyone, I would like them to are available in the finals.

Dirk and I actually have played within the finals against one another twice. His team won once. My team won one. So I call it a wash. And I’m thankful to give you the option to be an element of the category that I’m an element of. And Dirk to me — and there’s no shade on anybody who’s ever played — but I feel Dirk will probably be checked out as the best international player that we’ve ever seen.

You’ve talked at length about your advocacy on behalf of the transgender community, especially along with your own child. What was your response to the Orlando Magic donating $50,000 to the super PAC affiliated with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida? (DeSantis has supported laws corresponding to what opponents deemed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, a law signed last yr that limits what instructors can teach about sexuality and gender in classrooms. The Magic’s donation was dated May 19, just days before DeSantis announced a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.)

I actually have so many things that I’m focused on and there’s so many, so many battles to fight, in a way. That’s one which I’m not selecting to fight, with so many other things where my voice is required. Individuals are going to do what people need to do. And there’s nothing that you just’re going to give you the option to do to stop them, per se. And so I’m attempting to help where the necessity is and where I can.

There have been some reports within the spring that Florida Democrats were recruiting you to run for Senate.

[Laughter] I heard that.

Have you ever ever been approached to run for office?


So describe to me what that approach was like.

I mean, it’s just conversation. “Hey, you can be good for,” “Hey, we are able to see you in,” “We might like to have you ever in.”

It’s things that I’m keen about that I’ll speak out on and speak up for. And so I don’t play the politician games. I don’t know loads about it.

But I also understand that I actually have a task as an American citizen and as a known person to give you the option to focus on and speak on things that other people may not give you the option to because they don’t have the chance to do that.

So that you’re running.


Let me see if I can get you to be somewhat spicy. I’m sure you’ve seen a number of the comments Paul Pierce has made comparing the 2 of you. He’s said a few various things. But one in all the things he said — I’ll read the quote — “Put Shaq on my team. Put LeBron and Bosh with me. I’m not going to win one? You don’t think me, LeBron and Bosh, we’re not going to win one? We’re not going to win a pair?”

What was your response to seeing what Paul said about you?

I’m living rent-free right away.

I got so many things occurring in my life. Comparing myself to someone who’s not playing or someone who’s playing is certainly not on my to-do list. Listen, Paul Pierce was one in all the best players that we’ve had in our game. And I feel, you understand, when you’re a fantastic player and also you don’t get the eye that you’re feeling like your game deserved, sometimes you’ve got to grab whatever attention where those straws are. And Paul believes he’s a greater player than me. He should imagine that. That’s why he was great. That’s not my argument, and I didn’t play the sport to be higher than Paul Pierce. I played the sport the way in which I played it, and I made the sacrifices that I made. Everybody doesn’t need to sacrifice.

I’ve been capable of be a star. I’ve been capable of be Robin. I’ve been capable of be a part of the Larry, Curly and Moe, like, whatever. I’ve been able to achieve success and great in all those areas.

It’s easy to say what you’d do if you may have a certain talent in your team, but you may have to play with that talent. And that’s the toughest thing to do — to play with talent in several generations and different styles, which I used to be capable of do.

What’s it like to observe old highlights of yourself now that you just’re 41?

I just got done watching a 2005-2006 edit. I feel it was 45 minutes. I watched about quarter-hour. I walked away from that edit, and I used to be just taking a look at the way in which I played the sport and I hooped.

Nowadays, we’ve got the youngsters. And I really like what development is happening, but kids are working on their moves. I just reacted to defenders. My moves got here from just reacting, and people are the moves which might be being worked on and are being highlighted now. I just played the sport of basketball identical to I used to be back in Chicago fidgeting with my uncles and my dad and my family.

So I really like watching old highlights of myself because, just being honest, I haven’t seen a variety of individuals with my game and with my style. And so it was unique. And I’m thankful to have one in all those games that nobody can really understand how good I actually was.

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