Boardroom talks with the three-time NBA champ about what he hopes to accomplish on his new podcasting venture and what fans can expect moving forward.
Dwyane Wade was unstoppable at times during his 16-year NBA career. Now, years after walking away from the hardwood, the Miami Heat legend wants to learn from some of the most successful and essential voices, not only in sports but in all kinds of business.
Wade officially entered the podcast space on Wednesday when he launched The Why with Dwyane Wade in partnership with iHeartPodcasts and his 59th & Prairie Entertainment company. Moving forward, the three-time NBA Finals champion will sit down with “pioneers in sports, fashion, music, and business for an intimate conversation” about their ascent to success and the reasons why they keep pushing to innovate.
The first drop on Wednesday — a two-part episode — is a roundtable discussion with fellow Hall of Famers Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, and Tony Parker. Other confirmed guests to keep an eye out for on Wade’s program in the future include Carmelo Anthony, Rick Ross, Pat Riley, David Grutman, and Lindsey Vonn, among others, Wade confirmed.
“I had a couple of people that I really wanted to start this off with,” Wade told Boardroom. “And definitely from a Miami standpoint, Pat Riley and David Grutman, I wanted to make sure that I put them in there.
“But above anything, there were conversations I always wanted to have, and hopefully, the listeners want to listen to me have.”
Arguably one the most revered names in the NBA and, more specifically, in South Beach, it was a no-brainer that Riley would share space with someone equally as beloved in the 305. As someone with a penchant for learning, Wade teased that Riley shared details of his life he never even knew.
“For listeners that have not heard his story or what made him who he is today, hopefully, they get an opportunity to walk away inspired by our conversation,” Wade said.
Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed athletes start taking control of their storytelling in favor of traditional media outlets. Whether by forming their own media companies or working with a company similar to The Why, Wade attributes this growing trend to the beauty of owning your narrative.
“You’ve got journalists and people who just decide to wake up one day and say something about you. Sometimes they control the story because they’re first to report it,” Wade said. “Now, you have athletes with the opportunity to control their narrative, and I think that’s powerful.
“To be in a position that we all are in, to be as successful as we’ve been in this sport, you have to create a vision. You have to create this image for yourself as a young kid because this is one of the hardest things to do, especially playing at an elite level. So we’re amazing storytellers, and now we get to do things on our terms without being misquoted or through perception.”
Made official last weekend, it was only a matter of time before Dwyane Wade received a statue outside the Heat’s downtown arena.
Riley, the team’s president, delivered the good news during halftime of the Heat’s game against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, which they designated “Dwyane Wade Hall of Fame Night.” When the bronze statue is eventually unveiled outside of Kaseya Center, it will be the first in franchise history.
Wade and the Heat are currently in the process of hammering out some of the finer details of the statue.
“You’ve seen some of the GOATs of our game get statues. And sometimes you’re lucky enough to be one of those individuals,” Wade told Boardroom. ” … I know what I would want it to be, but it has to come together the right way. I think it will, and I think all the fans are going to be pleased with the image that is chosen and where it’s located because all of these things matter. I can’t wait to share that day with the entire Wade County community and my family as well.”
Having played as long as he did in the league, Wade has experienced almost every emotion possible throughout his career. But when Riley made the statue announcement, Wade felt a new feeling, going as far as admitting he started to tear up.
“It was raw emotion,” Wade joked before reverting to a more heartfelt demeanor. “Being there with the fans, I was thinking about all these memories, the injuries I’ve had, and the highs and the lows of playing in that arena. A jersey retirement is huge, but a statue goes a step beyond where it’s a very elite group of people who have one. I just got real emotional about God’s plan for me in that moment.”
Team USA & the Olympics
Now that we’re in 2024, it’s officially an Olympics year, and all eyes will be on Team USA this summer as it looks to add another medal to the federation’s history. The retired Wade won’t be a part of the squad, of course, but his illustrious career resume does include two Olympic medals — a bronze in 2004 and a gold four years later in Beijing.
During Los Angeles Lakers media day in October 2023, Wade’s former teammate LeBron James confirmed his interest in playing for Team USA in Paris. And let’s be honest: If LeBron wants to play, he’ll be on the roster.
James is among a group of NBA stars who have reportedly expressed interest in suiting up for the United States this summer, including Stephen Curry (who has yet to make his Olympic debut), Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Draymond Green, and Chris Paul. Even reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, who has dual citizenship in France and could have played for its national team, wants in.
The aforementioned names would undoubtedly give Team USA the upper hand over its competition. Still, Wade says it will be “challenging” to be the indomitable force Team USA has been known as in years past. Some of that is due to the fact that basketball has grown exponentially across the globe in recent years, consequently producing superstars from other nations. And while other countries may struggle to still field an entire roster that is on par with the US, they aren’t far behind, and some boast individual talent that can compete with anyone.
“Just look in the league; most of the stars are not American-born basketball players,” Wade said. “Honestly, it’s just going to be hard to be that dominant. But to win gold and to be the best is going to take some commitment. It’s going to take some sacrifice. You’re going to take continuity and all the things that are needed to be a team. It’s very hard when guys get together for a month and a half and try to accomplish something amazing when you’ve got people from around the world that this is what they do year-round. They’ve been doing it together since they were 12 years old, so they have chemistry.
“It’s definitely getting more challenging. And now we’re going to see what we’re made of, not just from a talent standpoint, but overall as basketball players. But it’s going to be interesting, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish.”
The two-part first episode of The Why with Dwyane Wade is now available on the iHeartRadio app and all major podcast platforms. Exclusive videos from each podcast will also be available on YouTube.
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