Life Lessons from Basketball Star Dwyane Wade

Not just one of the most successful NBA players of all time, Dwyane Wade is an entrepreneur, family man, brand ambassador, but perhaps most importantly, a fighter.

basket dwyane wade

NBA players are often cited as overpaid, spoilt and arrogant, and while this could be true of some, it’s not fair to tar every single person in the league with the same brush. At age 36, Dwyane isn’t exactly old, but when you consider that most NBA players bow out of such a fast-paced and intense sport roughly around 37-38, Wade is a veritable dinosaur in basketball years. Though he’s had his ups and downs, Wade is still a hugely respected player in the NBA and up until recently, was competing in the 2018 playoffs for the coveted Larry O’Brien championship trophy. His team, the Miami Heat, were beaten by a much younger and faster Philadelphia 76ers, but Wade still had his moments and, at times, looked like the younger Dwyane who could easily skip past opponents and score on a whim.

So, despite it looking like Wade is on his way to professional basketball retirement, he’s certainly not going to put his feet up and take a rest. On the contrary, Wade loves to keep active and currently has many business ventures, including partnerships with Dsquared2, Hublot, Tie Bar, Stance, as well as writing a bestselling book and being the founder of The Wade’s World Foundation. Oh, and he’s also a three-time NBA champion, 12-time All-Star, and gold medal winner in the 2008 Olympics. Clearly, the guy knows how to get things done on and off the court.

This brings us to the point: What exactly can we learn from Dwyane Wade?

Get out of something you hate

From a very early age, Dwyane was exposed to many things that a young child should never see. Wade’s mother, JoLinda, was an addict – including alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, and heroin – and he would routinely witness his own mother either taking or dealing drugs in the family home. Wade was even present when police raided their home for narcotics and arrested JoLinda, who would spend many years in and out of jail. Dwyane was also growing up in a dangerous neighborhood in Chicago, which was notorious for gang warfare. Though Wade’s parents divorced when he was only a baby, he eventually lived in his father’s home in Chicago and found a love for basketball when he saw other kids playing nearby on an outside court.

Wade ended up playing basketball in college for Marquette University, Milwaukee and was drafted 5th by the Miami Heat in the 2003 NBA draft – the team he helped win three championships. Despite a turbulent upbringing, Wade only ever focused on his passion for basketball to get him out of a bad situation. Even though it seems like there’s no way out, Wade is proof that if you don’t like the cards you’ve been dealt, then you have the power to change them.

Aim for things you’re passionate about

Wade’s basketball success really speaks for itself, but Dwyane naturally has other passions in his life. As mentioned earlier, Wade has many partnerships that are as varied as they are lucrative. Wade has his own sock collection with Stance, which is the official sock provider of the NBA. The collection features several designs based on his hometown of Chicago.

Although Wade has also starred in many commercials for the sports drink Gatorade, he clearly favors the fashion angle when it comes to business ventures. Wade is often remarked upon as a fashionable guy, so it should be no surprise that he has his own collection for urban streetwear brand Dsquared2. Perhaps the most grandiose of them all is Wade’s own signature watch from Swiss company Hublot. Wade has a unique design in the Big Bang series, and although calling them ‘affordable’ would be a lie, some have had success finding Wade’s signature Hublot watch at a lower price when looking on Chrono24 – which some people prefer over buying brand new. Wade understands it’s best to follow your heart when it comes to business decisions.

Don’t be afraid to team up once in a while

In 2006, Dwyane Wade was virtually unstoppable on the basketball court and led the Miami Heat to its first-ever championship. For a long time, Wade was the go-to guy and was feared by opponents across the league, but despite his solid play, the Miami Heat failed to win more championships until something very special happened. Knowing that he couldn’t do it alone anymore, Wade formed a plan to team up with fellow NBA superstars, Lebron James and Chris Bosh. Known as the ‘Big 3,’ the Miami Heat went on to win it all in 2012 and again in 2013. Dwyane put aside his own ego and was happy to ask for help and form a partnership with others, something that every entrepreneur should realize is always an option.

Be willing to change and not settle for second-best

Lastly, Wade made it clear that he wasn’t happy with the contract given to him by the Miami Heat in 2016, and so decided right there and then that things we’re acceptable, and signed instead with the Chicago Bulls. Wade’s time there was didn’t go as planned, as conflict with teammates and less-than-successful play on the court resulted in a move to the Cleveland Cavaliers to reconnect with his old friend, LeBron James. Yet life wasn’t so good in Cleveland either, and in 2018, Wade was traded back to the team where he made his name, the Miami Heat. Not afraid to mix things up and check out greener pastures, Wade is always seeking for the best in his life and is never one to stay in a bad situation. Though it might not have worked out like he wanted, his boldness in trying something new is to be admired. We could all learn a lot of from life and the career of Dwyane Wade.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan