The Hall of Fame guard, vintner and co-owner of the Utah Jazz talks to PEOPLE about taking on another project with 'The Why'
Dwyane Wade is still processing his goal of reaching the pinnacle of pro basketball.
“I think we all live in that imposter syndrome, right?” Wade tells PEOPLE exclusively on the eve of his 42nd birthday and the debut of his new podcast, The Why with Dwyane Wade. “You're going through the moment, but the moment kind of goes so fast. You're like, ‘Did that happen? Is that real?’ And then someone would say something like, ‘Hey, how you doing, Mr. Hall of Famer?’ ”
Yet five months after his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame, and two days after the Miami Heat announced a statue outside the arena in his honor, the retired shooting guard is also re-examining his place in it all — and asking provocative questions about himself and others — on his talk series.
“I think it was taking a look back at what I've dealt with my whole life,” he says of the podcast's title, which is a double entendre, playing on the unconventional spelling of his own name. “And that's the ‘W’ and the ‘Y’ in my name. Everyone, even up to the Hall of Fame, people were misspelling my name. They always put the ‘A’ before the ‘Y.’ And so I've been dealing with the ‘Y’ for a very long time.”
He adds, “But also too, just understanding what that is. When someone asks you, ‘Hey, what's your why?’ It gets you to think. It gets you to pause and it's a very powerful question when people ask you that. And so I think that's something that I thought was very important as well.”
In the first episode, taped last August just before he was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, Wade shares the floor with co-honorees, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki. The group gets into a lively conversation that highlights their mutual accomplishments in the league — and also looks back at the headlines they made.
For Wade and Nowitzki, whose teams crossed paths in the NBA Finals in 2006 and 2011, it was their first opportunity to finally break down what exactly happened after the Heat came back from an 0-2 deficit to win the championship in 2006 — and then went on to lose the title to the Mavs in 2011.
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In the latter final, Wade and LeBron James were famously caught on camera mocking an under-the-weather Nowitzki by coughing and laughing at the star forward before the game.
“We never had an actual conversation [about it],” Wade says about what became an acrimonious-as-seen-by-the-media relationship. “We didn't guard each other in the game, we didn't play each other that way. So it was very interesting to have that conversation and understand, I like that guy. How could you not like Dirk?”
He continues, “And so to be able to have that, I thought it was great for the basketball world and for the fans of the game to be to hear two of the game’s greats, I think, have this healing moment.”
For Wade’s part, he calls his behavior in 2011 “childish,” explaining that “we're judged a certain way because we have cameras in our face at all times.”
These days, Wade welcomes the close-ups when it comes to his personal life.
Whether he’s dancing with his 5-year-old daughter, Kaavia, who he shares with wife Gabrielle Union, or embracing his older children’s paths, the retired athlete, vintner and co-owner of the Utah Jazz has a full plate. But, at the same time, he’s made sure there’s a place for everyone at his table.
During his emotional Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Wade thanked his father, Dwyane Wade Sr., and brought him on stage. Through tears, the two told one another they loved each other, and then the younger Wade joyfully told his dad, “We in the Hall of Fame, dawg!”
Looking back, the three-time NBA champion says he has been proud to use his platform to honor his loved ones. “I've shared my stories about my family and these are personal, private stories that we don't have to share, that we have shared,” Wade tells PEOPLE.
“It's not because we want sympathy, but it's because we know that sometimes you go through things for others to be able to learn from as well,” he continues. “And so we've shared so many of our stories. Family is everything, and family looks different for everyone. And I've tried to bring my loved ones along.”
Wade concludes, “They've always supported me. They've given me the wisdom and the confidence to go out and do the things that I've done because of their support. And I'm just trying to give it all back."
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