Dwyane Wade’s Life Isn’t Your Typical NBA Star’s Story

Athletes | 6/27/19

Three-time NBA champion, 13-time NBA All-Star, and NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade has one of the most decorated careers for a basketball player. The 6’4″ phenom from Chicago played his way to earning the spot as the third best shooting guard of all-time, behind only Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Wade was a pleasure to watch on the court. As exciting as his life in the NBA was, the world of Wade off the court has its fair share of intricacies. People suing people, and custody battles are only a few of the interesting occurrences in Wade’s life. You don’t want to miss out on this…

South Side Of Chicago

wade-little when he was young kid smiling
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Light Yagami/Pinterest

Dwyane Wade was born on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. His parents are JoLinda and Dwayne Wade Sr, who already had two kids before having Wade. His upbringing wasn’t the greatest, as he described, “mom was on drugs and family was in the gang environment, so it was a rough childhood.”

Wade’s parents separated when he was only four months old, and they would later divorce. Wade’s mom turned into a dealer and would use in the presence of the kids. When Wade turned eight, his sister tricked him into thinking they were heading to the movies, but they were going to move in with his dad…

Turning To Sports

d-wade high school photo
Chris Schell/Pinterest
Chris Schell/Pinterest

Not many in Wade’s position have alternatives to escape that type of life. Some fall to the wayward, and few others find an escape. For Wade, sports were his sanctuary. Wade also credits his big sister, Tragil as the one most responsible for steering him in the right direction.

As a teen, Wade went to Harold L. Richards High School where he would average 27 points per game, and 11 rebounds his senior year. He also set the school records for points and steals in a season, but only three colleges recruited him due to his academic problems. One school lucked up when they took the chance on the young prodigy…

The College Star

dwyane Wade surrounded by many others as he has the ball
Ryan McKee/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
Ryan McKee/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Wade decided to play for Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but lost eligibility his first year due to not meeting the academic standards. He became eligible the next season (2001-2002) and led the Golden Eagles in scoring. They also saw their best record since the 1994 season.

The following season, Wade led the team to the Final Four, the school’s first appearance since winning the National Championship in 1977. His performance in the tournament became highly publicized and led to him becoming a top prospect in the draft the upcoming loaded draft alongside LeBron James.

What was in store next for a young Wade?…

Wade Turns Up The Heat

081217_Wade-drafted with pay riley
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Light Yagami/Pinterest

After a record-setting career at Marquette, Wade knew he was ready for the big leagues. A few months after the Final Four, the NBA draft took place, and the Miami Heat selected wade 5th overall. The fans of Miami felt his impact almost immediately.

The Heat did well enough to make it to the playoffs where Wade show flashes of his immense talents, but other rookies Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James overshadowed the brilliant year Wade had.

Would Wade let the limelight his peers received throw him off course?…

Wade’s Breakthrough Season

Miami Heat Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal against Houston Rockets
Sporting News via Getty Images/Sporting News via Getty Images
Sporting News via Getty Images/Sporting News via Getty Images

Growing up on the tough streets of the Southside Chicago, any pressures from the NBA were trivial to Wade. That’s why his second year in the league he bounced back harder than the previous season. The Heat had acquired Shaquille O’Neal, and with Wade, they became a dynamic duo.

Wade became a first-time All-Star as the Heat recorded an Eastern Conference-best record of 59-23. They easily cruised to the Eastern Conference Finals but would lose to Detroit 4-2. Wade played through the flu, sinusitis, and a knee strain, but still managed to be the best player on the court.

It would only be a matter of time before there was trouble in paradise…

Wade Win’s First Championship

Dwyane Wade during Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale and Dwyane Wade Visit MTV's
Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic
Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic

In only his third season, it felt like the Chicago native had already hit his prime. He made his second consecutive All-Star team and finished the season averaging 27.2 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game. Wade finally led his team the Finals after getting so close the previous season.

The Heat played the Dallas Mavericks and started the series with two losses. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Wade put on one of the most beautiful Finals performances of all-time. The Heat didn’t lose another game in the series as Wade played his way to become Finals MVP and secure the Miami Heat’s first championship.

Up next, did Wade meet the love of his life, or run into a true test?…

Bring It On: Wade Meets Union For The First Time

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union posing together
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Light Yagami/Pinterest

A year after winning his first championship, you can imagine that life off the court changed immensely for Wade. Sponsors, appearances, and plenty of temptation. Wade had married Siohvaughn Funches in 2002 before the NBA draft, but they didn’t know life would become like this.

Wade’s name grew exponentially, so he received many offers. One of them was to co-host a Super Bowl party alongside the gorgeous Gabrielle Union. A year earlier, Union divorced her husband of five years, and later that year, Wade filed for divorce from Funches…

Bringing Gold Back To The States

USA's Kobe Bryant and USA's Dwyane Wade bite their medals on the podium after the men's basketball gold medal match
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Meanwhile, back on the court, Dwyane Wade and the rest of his peers needed to complete a quest. The men’s Olympic basketball team attempted to do something that hadn’t happened in eight years; win gold. Wade, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and more comprised what the media labeled the “Redeem Team.”

Wade averaged a team-high 16 points throughout the Olympics and tallied 27 points in the final game against Spain as they secured the victory. The team lived up to their Redeem Team moniker, and the U.S. was back on top again.

Off the court, things weren’t as smooth for Wade…

Seen Together For The First Time

 Actress Gabrielle Union and Basketball Player Dwyane Wade attend Summer Groove All-Star Basketball Game -102961837
Larry Marano/Getty Images
Larry Marano/Getty Images

Things were harder for Wade off the court. One year he wins the NBA Championship, then the next he plays a significant role in the USA winning gold at the Olympics. Off the court, however, things were getting spicy.

Wade was a co-host of a charity dinner event called “The Summer Groove,” and decided to bring an interesting plus one. It was the first time Union, and Wade made an appearance together, and the dating rumors filled newsstands…

Things weren’t going to be that easy for the star…

Uh Oh… Funches Sues Union

Dwyane Wade with his wife Siohvaughn during Ocean Drive Magazine & Prime 112-147927753
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage

Wade had previously filed for divorce late in 2007, so he and Funches were already split. Their divorce had still been going on in 2010. Wade’s a busy man and the couple had two children together, so things were complicated.

In May of 2010, Wade filed for sole custody of the kids, and that’s when Funches filed a lawsuit against Union, citing “emotional distress” as the reason. Thankfully, the case later got dismissed by the courts. Still, some rain clouds were hovering over Wade’s life…

The Big Three Era Begins

LeBron James #6, Dwyane Wade #3 and Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat show off their new game jerseys before a press conference-102773301
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Back in the NBA, things were about to change forever. In the summer of 2010, superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Wade on the Miami Heat. James took much scrutiny for leaving his hometown, but he desperately wanted to win and play with his close friend.

The newly formed super team didn’t win the title their first year together, but that changed in the years to follow. The Heat’s big three struck fear into the hearts of opponents.

Just as things changed on the court, Wade’s love life quickly transformed as well…

The Big Red Carpet Debut

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attends Summer Groove Benefit Dinner -103065506
Vallery Jean/Getty Images
Vallery Jean/Getty Images

The dating rumors surrounding Wade and Union had been going on for years. In 2010, the pair put the talks to rest when they made their red carpet debut together at the Summer Groove Charity event. Union had been Wade’s plus one in the past, but this time they made it official.

Their appearance came briefly after Wade and Funches finalized their divorce. It looked like the only thing left for Wade to tackle was gaining custody of the children…

Wade Wins Custody Battle

Miami HEAT player Dwyane Wade poses with his children on the sidelines-576942506
Doug Murray/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images
Doug Murray/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images

After a year-long legal battle, things started to turn around for the Miami Heat player. Wade finally won sole custody of his two sons, Zaire and Zion. At the time, he was also taking care of his nephew.

“My life changed in a huge way,” Wade told the AP. “Mentally, I’ve been preparing for it for over a year now. To me, it’s bigger than that. For me, it shows a lot of people that you need to fight to be in your kids’ lives sometimes.”

Landing The Cover Of Essence Magazine

Essence shoot with Wade and Union
Michele Brown-Russell/Pinterest
Michele Brown-Russell/Pinterest

Things began moving fast for the new couple, but they didn’t want things to move that quickly. Union and Wade graced the cover of Essence Magazine in January of 2012 and answered some tough questions in a joint interview for the publication.

“We’re not rushing it. Both of us have been married before, and we understand that if we choose to marry again, we want it to be right. We both took failing at marriage hard. The next time it’s gotta be forever,” Wade said.

They say good things don’t last forever…

Time For A Break??

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union enjoys a moment at THE COLLECTION -451293937
Bobby Metelus/WireImage
Bobby Metelus/WireImage

At the start of 2013, the love birds ran into some issues that forced them to take a break. Many became confused as to how this could happen after witnessing how much chemistry the two had together. Union told her side of the story to let people know, saying “distance and scheduling” were the root of the problems.

“I finished filming [Being Mary Jane], then I flew to Vegas right away to start shooting Think Like a Man Too, she told Glamour. “I couldn’t take time off, and I missed some quality togetherness we desperately needed.”

Would the couple find their way back into each other’s arms?…

That Didn’t Take Long – Wade Proposes To Union!

Gabrielle Union embraces her new fiancee Dwyane Wade in the moments after he proposed-458856011
Bobby Metelus/Getty Images
Bobby Metelus/Getty Images

The break between love birds Wade and Union only lasted from January to April 2013. People spotted them together in April at a Miami Heat event. It wouldn’t take long for their strong feelings for each other to take over.

In December of that year, he proposed to her with a ring that reportedly cost upwards of $1 million! “Sooooo this happened… #Yessss,” Union captioned an Instagram post of her ring, adding a string of dancing emojis, clapping emojis and heart-eyed emojis.

Epic Honeymoon For The Love Birds

epic honeymoon with dwyane wade and gabrielle union
gabunion/Instagram
gabunion/Instagram

On August 30, 2014, the pair tied the knot in a lavish Miami ceremony in front of close friends and family. Both of Wade’s children plus his nephew were a part of the wedding party held at Chateau Artisan.

Not too much later, they embarked on a romantic honeymoon to the Maldives! Union posted a ton of photos of the trip and captioned one of them, “About last week… Maldives on our deserted island ish… Great start to an epic adventure #irefusedtowearclothes #NebraskaCapAdventures #ChevalBlanc #OurLifeOurWay.”

Things appeared to be spectacular for Wade and his new wife until…

New Ventures For Wade

wade donning two different jerseys towards the end of his career
Michael Reaves/Stringer/Getty Images
Michael Reaves/Stringer/Getty Images

Injuries and surgeries were beginning to take a toll on the star player Wade. He wasn’t as fast and explosive as he once was, but he still could play better than 65% of the NBA. In 2016, the Miami Heat made the tough decision to ship Wade to his hometown of Chicago.

One year after playing with the Bulls, Chicago bought out Wade’s contract and three days later he signed with the Cavaliers. Wade and James teamed up once more for what they hoped would be a Championship run, but things don’t always go as planned…

Celebrating Four Years Of Marriage

Miami Heat basketball player Dwayne Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union smile-1052134902
Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In August of 2018, the couple celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary. Naturally, Union and Wade both posted cheesy posts on their Instagram accounts, but all the fans loved it.

“Waking up every morning next to my best friend is a blessing I could’ve never imagined,” Union wrote. Getting to that four-year mark might’ve been a long journey, but it looks like it was all well worth the legal battles and dodging the initial rumors that swirled around.

How did things turn out for Wade in Cleveland alongside longtime friend LeBron James?…

The Return To Miami…

Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat greets fans prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center -1141792741
Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

As soon as the season started for the new look Cavaliers, things didn’t look too great. Wade yelled at Coach Ty Lue because he didn’t want to come off the bench, but due to poor play, he eventually demoted himself to a bench role.

Right before the trade deadline, Cleveland completely changed their team, bringing in a slew of young faces. Wade’s role would end up reduced again after this development, so the Cleveland organization wanted to do right by him. That’s when they traded him back to where his NBA career began, and the Miami Heat fans loved it!

A New Addition To The Family!

Dwyane Wade and Union with their new born
dwyanewade/Instagram
dwyanewade/Instagram

After years of attempts and multiple miscarriages, Wade and Union finally welcomed in a kid of their via surrogate on November 7, 2018. The battle Union went through leading up to the birth of their child was a tough one for her, but she’s glad her child is healthy and that she could openly share her experiences.

“So many people are suffering in silence and every time, when we’re candid and transparent about our journeys, no matter what those journeys are, you are allowing people to be seen and heard and empowered in ways that they’ve never been,” Union told Oprah.

Even after all that, there was still some family “drama” that Wade needed to tend to…

Father Of The Year

GabrielleUnionZion-MiamiPride-
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Light Yagami/Pinterest

Now, with three children in his family, Wade had to defeat a negative connotation associated with his youngest son. Zion, who isn’t a teenager yet, identifies with the LGBTQ community. Wade’s biggest accomplishment is being a supportive father.

Many criticized Wade’s support of his son and the comments he had, but he quieted them with a simple message. “Once you bring kids into this world, you become unselfish,” Wade said. “It’s my job to be their role model, to be their voice in my kids’ lives, to let them know you can conquer the world. So, go and be your amazing self and we’re going to sit back and just love you.”