On Sunday, January 14, 2024, Dwyane Wade was honored at the Miami Heat game for his Hall of Fame career. Wade grew up idolizing Michael Jordan, and now like Jordan, Wade will also have a statue in front of his hometown team for millions of people around the world to relish for years to come. Not only did Dwyane Wade come full circle, but as I interviewed Wade at this game about what that statue and night meant, I realized I was smiling ear-to-ear about how meaningful the night was to me and how my relationship with Dwyane also came full circle.
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For the last several months, Wade has been celebrated for his Hall of Fame career as the greatest Miami Heat player of all time. Wade has proven that success isn’t just about individual accolades, but about inspiring others and making a positive impact on the lives of those around you. It is time we all celebrate and cherish Dwyane Wade the Hall of Fame person, not just the player.
If you would have told me 10 years ago, on the morning of my college graduation I would receive a heartfelt message from my childhood idol Dwyane Wade saying “Congrats my guy!” I would have said that was impossible. Webster defines the word impossible as “incapable of being or occurring.” As a 12-year-old boy from South Florida, I couldn’t fathom someone being a bigger Wade fan. Of course I tried to emulate Wade on the basketball court, but I also learned Photoshop and created a page @dwyanewadeedits expressing my admiration on Instagram. The content created a following that surpassed 130,000 followers, including NFL star Mike Evans, former NBA player Caron Butler, and Dwyane Wade himself to name a few.
It all began on a sunny morning in 2015, when I realized I had a direct Instagram message from Dwyane saying “Thank you for all you do.” Over the next few years, we collaborated on many posts and ideas, while I continued to post on my page. Wade gave me special tickets for Heat games, a signed pair of shoes, and built my confidence with each encounter. In every conversation, Wade genuinely cared about how I was and expressed great appreciation for my efforts.
A few years after our first encounter, Wade offered me a chance to hop on a zoom and interview him one on one to post on my page. Looking back now, that interview was cringe worthy; yet Dwyane Wade made me feel that my interview was amazing and he allowed me to continue to improve and evolve.
Fast forward to 2021, I was no longer the 12 year old he first met, but a 21 year old with a year left of college. Dwyane Wade reached out and asked if I would be willing to shut my page down and become his social media manager on a brand new page. Although shutting the edits page would mean losing all those followers and hard work, I loved the vision.
Our page is @wade_legacy. The page is much more than highlights. As the name suggests, it is a platform where fans can intimately get to know the Wade family and Dwyane Wade the person, the legend.
Wade’s off court accomplishments don’t get enough attention. His unwavering support of social justice, he has provided resources and assistance to struggling communities, he has fought tirelessly for gun control, and has used his platform to stand up for injustice. He was unafraid to discuss mental health, and helped so many realize it’s okay to be yourself and seek help when needed.
In today’s world, we all need to keep improving and getting better. I’ve been amazed after reading despicable comments by people hiding behind avatars, spewing the most untrue, hurtful things about Wade and the people he loves. Wade stayed unflappable. There were times I was trusted with free reign to post what I wanted representing Dwyane and wanted to fight back and “win” against the haters. Then I reflected what Wade taught me over the last 10 years. Winning means fighting for what you believe in with actions not words. In the face of adversity, if you “fall down seven times, stand up eight.” Live a life filled with love, integrity, and sometimes the act of one kind word or smile can change a life.
Dwyane Wade sure impacted my life. I learned that if you stay true to your values and commitment to excellence, nothing is “impossible”.