In his new book, A Father First, NBA star Dwayne Wade opens up about his journey to the NBA and being the best dad he can be.
Usually, when Mr. Wade comes to Washington, he's here to take on the Washington Wizards as a member of the Miami Heat. On a recent Saturday afternoon in DC, Dwayne Wade again drew a big crowd but instead of a packed house at the Verizon Center fans lined the block to see the eight-time All-Star speak at the storied independent bookstore Politics & Prose.
Instead of high-flying dunks and his 2011 NBA Championship, Wade was in DC to discuss and sign copies of his candid new book "A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball. "A Father First", co-written with Mim Eicher Rivas, details Wade's rise from Chicago's South Side; the son of divorced parents, to NBA superstar, single parent and role model.
Off the court, Wade's personal life has been played out in the media for all of us to see. After divorcing his high-school sweetheart and mother of his two children, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, Wade fought a long and nasty custody battle before gaining full custody of his sons Zaire and Zion in March 2011. Recently in June, during the NBA Finals, Wade's ex-wife had her visitation rights suspended when she was arrested for attempted child abduction. Wade sat down with the Washington Informer to talk about the inspiration behind his book and how, in his own words, "Fatherhood is the best thing that could happen to me, and I'm just glad I can share my voice".
Washington Informer: What made you want to write this book? What inspired 'A Father First'?
Dwayne Wade: You know what? I never thought I would write a book, it's nothing I set out to do. It's just because of what I've dealt with in life, obviously from my childhood to being an adult and just understanding that you know what? I have this platform and I wanted to shed some light on what I felt was positive. I used my own experiences, which I feel is the best teacher, to help others through my success and my failures. Like I said, I never thought I'd write one (a book) but, it was just that I felt that I've gone through everything for a reason.
Washington Informer: This is a very personal book. What was it like reliving some of these moments?
Dwayne Wade: Yeah, it was therapeutic at times. You know, obviously I had to go to a dark place and remember a lot of things when I was young, back to when I was 5, 6, 7, 8 years old, it was good to get it out. I kept certain things you know, private, but my life is public. I felt that I could touch on these areas because I know that others have dealt with it (adversity). I've been in the public eye since I was 21 years old when the Heat drafted me, so I felt that I could do that.
Washington Informer: How did you become involved with President Obama's Fatherhood Initiative campaign?
Dwayne Wade: I've been a part of his (President Obama's) campaign early, I've been to the White House a few times, they got to know me and the things I do through my foundation (Wade's World Foundation) and they asked me to be a part of it. I take it as an unbelievable honor to be one of the voices of fathers.
Washington Informer: What do you hope men fighting to be in their kids' lives take away from this book?
Dwayne Wade: Well, I think one of the biggest things is you can fight, no matter what, don't give up. Hopefully most parents, all parents, feel that this is the greatest gift that God has given you; the most important job in your life is to be a parent. Sometimes relationships don't work out. I think that parents need to do a better job of putting what's important first and that's your kids. So hopefully, from my fight and my struggles, people can learn from that, understand that this is what I need to keep doing. This is how I need to keep fighting, I can do it.
Washington Informer: I have to ask at least one sports related question before I let you go. You have two NBA championships, a NBA Finals MVP, a gold medal - you should have had two gold medals...
Dwayne Wade: Yeah...
Washington Informer: What's left for you to accomplish on the court?
Dwayne Wade: More [Laughs], a few more. As long as I play, I'm gonna win. If I don't play another day of basketball can I retire and say I had a good career, I've accomplished more than I ever could have dreamed of. I'm a competitor, I'm in a good situation, I want to continue to compete and hopefully win championships.