Dwyane Wade — Miami Heat media day press conference

Video Details

Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade sits down for his final media day press conference, touching on his announcement video, what he expects from the season, and what that Wade 3:16 thing is all about.

[SOUND EFFECT] CREW: Please wait for the mic to come on.

- Try to brush my hair a little bit.

Please get a good angle.

REPORTER: Hey Dwayne, welcome back.

- Thank you.

REPORTER: This season, there seems to be sort of differing thoughts on whether this is a farewell tour or not, or just the 16th season, and sort of play it out as such. You were very emotional a week ago in your description of what this season will be. But you also know sometimes, the NBA has little room for emotion. How do you sort of carry yourself through this season? Will it be different or are you going to try to avoid making it different?

- Great question, Ira. First of all, good morning everybody. I've been up awhile so I had to make sure what time it is. Good morning to everybody.

I don't know. I have no idea. I've never been in this situation before. So the answer I would give you, could be right, it could be totally wrong. But you know, that's definitely the plan. It's going to be a combination of it both. It's going to be a combination of savoring moments, enjoying moments. But is also going be a combination of trying to prepare and focus on the season, and each game, and your match ups, and you know, all these different things.

So it's definitely going to be something I can tell you more about when the season is over, and how I was able to deal with it. But I really don't have no way to learn how to deal with this. But I definitely-- I knew I wanted to come out at the beginning of the year and just tell my fans and let everyone know that this is it. This is the last one. So we can get that out the way, and then we can move on. And hopefully, that's what we're going to do to.

REPORTER: D-Wade, first of all, welcome back. I was wondering how many drafts you went through for your 10 minute spiel, because you had to encapsulate like, 16 years of a championship career. So how was the thought process behind that?

- Well, appreciate the little joke you threw in there. I like little jokes.

Well, for me, I just wanted to do it the way I wanted to do it. And I didn't want to-- you know, some players have done things what they've written to the "Player Tribune." And there's all different kind of things that guys have done at different points. So I wanted to come out and say at the beginning of the year, I wanted to speak to my fans, speak to my family, and speak to my friends.

And that's all I did. I didn't have a template. I didn't know what I was going there to talk about. I just got in the front of a camera and what came out, came out. It was raw emotions at times. It wasn't a lot-- it was a little editing here and there going on. I didn't want it to be fully edited and all really polished up, like we'll get to that part of it. But I wanted this to just be real and raw. And let my fans you know, hear from me, and feel the emotions that I felt, and the decisions and things I've had to go through this summer.

This is a tough decision for me. I've been playing basketball since I was five years old. I'm 36. You know, this is definitely something that I've mastered from the standpoint of I'm probably going to be better and nothing more, and I'm better at this. I get close. But I mean, I'm an OK father too. Trying to be a better husband.

But I've been a pretty good basketball player for a long time, even before people knew me. So those emotions came back in that moment. So that 10 minutes was actually nothing, y'all. I could have-- my mom's a pastor, y'all got to know the Wade family. I can go. So I cut it short because I knew it was getting lengthy. But I could have went for at least 30. Could have did a special about myself. No questions ask. Just kept going.

REPORTER: D-Wade, we saw you playing in the offseason, and all along, you said, hey look, I've got a lot to really think about. And it was clear until you made the decision, you did. But I'm curious, when was the moment that after thinking about it, you said, OK, I'm doing this. Did you wake up one morning, was it a moment, you had a meeting with your family? How did that all come to be to say, OK, I am coming back.

- I mean, it's just a combination of the whole entire summer. I know people disclosed to me you know what their wants are. And did I look at the situation-- I think for me, it was just to-- all of a sudden, it just came to me. Said, I just want to have an opportunity just to give my fans an opportunity to say goodbye. And give me an opportunity to say goodbye as well. A complete opportunity to do that.

And you know, last year, even when this thought started creeping into my mind, it was so late in the process that I didn't get much myself a chance to really say goodbye to this game. Because once it's over with, there ain't no coming back on this stage. I'll be a local hooper superstar. But outside of that, I'm not going to be on this level no more.

So that's what it came down to, you know? It was-- I can think about all the things that can pull me not to come back, and I can think about the things that pulled me to come back. But ultimately, it was a few people and a few things that really helped push me just way.

And saying a real goodbye was definitely at the top of that. You know, a promise kept. You know, I don't know what [INAUDIBLE] is going to do this year, but I know what I'm doing. And that's another promise that I want to keep to him that we made to each other a long time ago. And other things as well.

REPORTER: Dwayne, welcome back. A lot of times, from a broad spectrum of sports, players' retirement, the decisions are made for them. Teams cut them, and their career is over. How fortunate do you feel that you're ending this on your terms? Because that doesn't happen very often.

- Yeah, I mean, there's something that I've talked about you know, I think, when the season was over with. Me and my business manager sat down and talked about it. And I was really out of it at that point. I was like, yeah, it's over. I was about 90-10 at that point that it was over.

But you know, that was the message that kept coming back to me-- you know, you're fortunate now to be in a situation where you can control how it end, bearing any injuries. And I think you know, even what Shaq said the other day-- listening to some of the greats that have played this game, and not having an opportunity to go through-- an opportunity like this, that made me appreciate it even more, you know? That I have the ability to do it this way or my way, in a sense.

So I continue to say I'm going to be very uncomfortable with this whole thing. I'm going to be very uncomfortable with the farewell tour. It's not something that I wanted. I think people around me know I really, really, really didn't want this. So I just look at this as me just saying goodbye, you know, more so than anything. But definitely going to be uncomfortable with it.

But you know, like Shaq side, if he could have got the opportunity to this, if other greats could have got the opportunity, because of injury, or because of teams or trades, et cetera-- you may not get this chance to people, you know, one last time, pat you on the back, and tell you how great you were. Not that you are-- that you were. You know, that's something that all players need, right? So there we go.

REPORTER: In the video, at the end, you talked about-- you know, you asked fans basically to join you and write the ending together with you. Short of the parade down Biscayne Boulevard answer, what is the perfect ending for you this season? What do you want out of this year?

- I don't know. Tim, I have no idea what I want out of this year. So that's why I said, let's write it together. It's going to be-- we're going to be able to figure this thing out as the year goes on. It's going to take on a life of its own. You know,

Like I said, I had no idea what I was going to say. The whole one last dance thing came out of nowhere. I don't even know how to dance. So it really was just all off the cuff. But I really don't know.

And as I was saying-- you guys will hear more about it-- to me, that is the beauty of it is that I do not know, and that we do not know, you know? And it keeps people clicking on you guys articles because they do not know what's going to happen or it's going to be said. Listen, I'm for the community, you know? I'm for-- So you know, that's the beauty of it. And I cannot wait to see how it ends.

And however this ends, you know, it's just another chapter to that book that we've been talking about in my life. I hope it ends amazing. But you never know how each season is going to end. They all end differently.

And you take your positives and pull some negatives out. But I don't think I'm pulling no negatives out this year. I'm just going to put all the positives out. And I'm ride off on that.

REPORTER: Dwayne, looking ahead to the season, you know, obviously, a lot of critics would look at this roster and say there's not a clear cut all-star. What are the challenges to finding success in the league without a clear superstar in today's game?

- Yeah, very challenging. I mean, you got-- how many you got in got in Golden State? Four, five? I mean, you need to compete at that level-- you know, when we talk about that level, that championship level, to be consistent throughout the season and win 55, 60, 65, those kind of games-- you need that kind of talent. You need a kind of stature you know, on your team.

And the goal is, when you've got a young team like we have in the locker room, a lot of guys just to build it til one day those guys are that, you know, they are multiple all stars. And they are looked at in that light. So that's this process that we in as a organization, you know, trying to get there. But at the same time, you know, we-- they want to be competitive, you know.

And it's like no, we not just coming and say we're just going-- we going keep growing every year. No, they want to get to the playoffs. They want to win in the playoffs. They want to go further and further. So they push in and get the most out of each individual in this locker room.

So you know, that's what we going to go through this year, you know. You know, lining up, whoever coach decided to play, going to try to get everything out of themselves. And maybe you put some all stars out of it. You know, last year Goran got a opportunity to be an all-star. Maybe you see other guys get that nod, or you know, start getting to that confident level where you start seeing it.

They can be on the all-star level. I mean, you got 17,000 all-stars in the West Conference anyway. So somebody can emerge. Coach give me a couple more minutes, I'll make it up in there. You never know.

So you know, I think it's the time for these young guys when we talk about J Rich, when you talk about Justice, you know when you talk about Dee Jones. When you talk about these younger-- they should be looking at that. You know what is-- you know, right now the Eastern Conference is open from the standpoint of it's a new wave coming in. And [INAUDIBLE] they should be looking at the opportunity to get to that level.

And it's not saying you playing for yourself and saying I want to be an all-star this year. That's a goal of yours, you should write it down. But it should be thinking about being at that level.

You know, these guys play competitive basketball now for a few years. They know where they need to go. They know what they need to do to get there.

REPORTER: Dwayne, looking back at going on 16 years, is there anything you would change? And I know we get the numbers Wade, 3:16. Is there a verse going to be associated with that this year, or a motto?

- Um, your first question, is there anything I would change? I'm sure. I'm sure it is. I'm sure we all would like to change a little some here and there. But I'm a firm believer in the story is told the way it's told because the way it's been and the way it's happened.

And it's been talked about through every athlete, just seems like. But you know, it was true. I was just a kid with a dream, right. Just like so many kids nowadays, I have a dream. And my dream is to play in the NBA. And you know, my path to my route there was different than a lot of people, but I got there.

And when I got there, I tried to make the best of it. You know, I feel that. And as I said in the video, I feel like I've laid it out on the line and given everything I've had to the game. And you know, I can walk away from this game, being OK with it, you know. Because even when I got to superstar level, I still played like a guy that was you know, trying to prove something-- that same kid that was trying to prove some you know, his whole life.

And that's the way I always knew I wanted to play and I was going to play. And I'm shocked that I'm sitting here and we talking about 16 season. I came in, I was like, if I get to 10-- but that is lovely. I didn't think I will get there because I knew the way I played and what I was going to get to the game was going to be reckless.

But you know, I've been able to be around for a while. And you know, some of it has to do with teammates that I played with, that have taken some burdens off me. And the way I've taken care of my body, especially the last four years, that has allowed my career to continue.


- Number 3 and my 16th season. It's just a double entendre type vibe. On my Jay-Z flow right now.

REPORTER: Dwayne, what do you expect from yourself this season?

- What do I expect from myself? I expect to come in and lead. I expect to come in and give it everything that I have. Some nights, it's going to be better than other nights. I can guarantee that. But I expect to come out and enjoy the game.

You guys have seen me play for you know, my-- this entire time, you know. And some years, it's been better than the rest from where you want to talk about shooting percentages or having more blocks or having more this or having more that. But you know, I try to give whatever my body allows me to give, and whatever my opportunity allows me to give. And that's what I will give this season.

REPORTER: You have business opportunities like Coors. You have opportunities in China, for example. Would you think about staying within basketball, maybe having some kind of a position with the Heat? Is that something that is possible in the future?

- Well, when that opportunity presents itself, we'll get to that, you know. But I definitely want to stay around the game of basketball. I think I've been very, very open about you know, hopefully one day, you know, being a part of ownership, being an ambassador, you know, and all these things. So you know, when it's time to talk about that on the other side, than I will.

Right now is not a time for me to talk about it. I want to focus on playing basketball, because I've got a long life to live to be on that other side. So-- but yes. I want to be around the game. I've been around his game like I said, since I was five years old.

I've loved it since I was nine. So I want to continue to being around and continue to give whatever I've learned to the next generation. And you know, hopefully the opportunity presents itself for me.

REPORTER: So as you just talked about that, you've had a lot of success as a businessman and as an entrepreneur as well, too. Have you been able to instill that on some of the guys on this team, or even to kind of throughout the league in terms of them being businessmen an entrepreneur like yourself?

- Yeah. Yeah I have. You know, we've had-- a lot of guys in this league-- especially the younger guys coming in, I think you know, a lot of the younger guys-- the new wave that's coming in now, when they was growing up I was Flash, like, real Flash. And so you know, a lot of guys you know, they reach out. You know, we have conversations, they ask questions.

I'm an open book for you know, any player in the league that wants to know anything about how I did it or why I did it, or good or bad. And definitely from my teammates, 100%, you know. So I'm all about the next generation. I've been about it for a while, because when I came in, I had guys on other teams and guys on my team to help me. They gave me some nuggets that I may not have used in that moment, but eventually, I went back to it.

You know, Eddie Jones of the world, the Lamar Odom's of the world, the Caron Butlers of the world, they was big for me you know, in my career, you know, from the standpoint of just coming in, learning the NBA. And then I learned a different way with Shaquille O'Neal. You know, I learned a different way, a superstar level and how to be a superstar you know, by Shaq. And you know, I've had other players along the away. You know, I talk about Baron Davis, Jason Kidd.

You know, a lot of guys I played against was big and like, on a basketball floor, telling me things that I was a little nervous-- like, Eric [INAUDIBLE]. They'd be telling me stuff in the game. And I'm like, why are you telling me this?

You know what I mean? And-- but continued to push the game forward. And I found myself doing that to players you know, now that I play against.

REPORTER: Dwayne, you came up with the one last dance. And it's going to be emotional for a lot of people here to go through this season with you. As you think about you know, coming here as a rookie out of Marquette and baby faced Dwayne Wade, is there a moment that stands out through all of this that you think about that says wow, I can't believe I did that?

- Everything. It's so hard to take one moment out of this life that I've been able to live you know, from the game of basketball. I can't pick one moment. You know, it's all been like-- it's been amazing. It's been a blur for sure, too.

As I said in the video, you know, the vets tell you when you come in it's going to go by fast. And you like, I'm just getting started. I've got a long way to go. And then you sitting up here you know, right now. And you like, what happened?

And even though there was some great moments involved in that, it still-- it went fast. But this whole journey-- and I would talk about it more. You know what I mean? Like, you guys, we've got a lot of things planned.

You guys will hear more from me. So I don't think it's time in a press conference to go that deep you know, into it. But it's all been-- it's all been amazing.

REPORTER: Wayne, I'm curious about-- asked Spoel earlier about your role. And he said you guys-- that stuff you guys figure out from a basketball perspective. But do you want to start? Or did you like that role last year? How do you-- your mind set into camp, how does it kind of come in from a role standpoint?

- Well, from a role stand point, I've always came into a season or a team wanted to play whatever role is needed to play. So I haven't always been the number one option. So I've been number one. Been number two. I've been number three.

I've been the clap guy on the bench. I've been it all over my career. So I've always played my role to the best of my ability, what I was asked of me. You know, you ask a player like myself, do you want to start? I mean that's-- you know, that's like asking you want breakfast in the morning? Of course.

I'm hungry. I want breakfast in the morning. Of course. I would love to. But if it's not you know, in my role to do that, then I will play my-- the best role that's capable-- that I'm capable of for the team. And you know, that's the way that I've always approached basketball.

That's what I was told by you know, my coaches and my role models, and leaders, you know, in basketball. So you know, I don't sit in-- I go into a camp and I compete. You know, I don't go into camp, trying to worry about starting, you know, or how many shots on the shoot, or how many opportunities. I just go into camp trying to compete. Trying to make sure that not only am I getting better, my teammates is getting better.

And we come out of camp better. And then from there, when coach decides who is going to play, who's going to start, that's all in his right. He's the head coach of this team. And everyone has to deal with it, and figure out how to be your best self with whatever role coach decided that you should have.

Because if you don't want role, than you shouldn't be without that organization. You should go somewhere else and find a different role. So I'm OK, whatever role I have. Obviously, I want the most that my body and my game can give. But you know, I don't control it.

REPORTER: Dwayne, In your decision to come back, what part of that process involved money? And is it demeaning or disappointing to you that you are at the lower end of the salary scale as you leave the game?

- Well, none of it involved money, I'll tell you that. I think that's one thing you all can say about me. You know, I pushed and did certain things, but that's never all it is to me. It's never been the main reason, you know.

And people you know, will say at certain times, you know, this is why you went to Chicago, this is why-- no. It's other reasons that you know, you make decisions. And to me, money has never been that main reason. And it's not that I don't like money. It's not that I don't love money. Right?

You know, it's other things that's important or more important when you're making decisions about your career, about yourself, about your family. So you know, to me, without a love, to go out like Kobe did making 25, 30 his last year? Hell yeah. Would I like, you know, would I like to score 60 at my last game? Hell yeah.

But none of that part ain't going to happen. My journey and my way is mine. And my story would be mine. And I have to own that. And I can't worry about-- I've made a lot of money from this game.

And I make a lot of money away from this game. So you know, my-- that couldn't be a part of my decision. And even though it's in there, and you talk to your agents and this and that, I didn't push for the possibly most I can get. You know, my whole thing was you know, getting back into the season enjoying this last year. Everything else will take care of itself.

You know, I'm sitting up here as a person who never expected to be sitting up here. You know, I hoped and I dreamed and I visioned, but I didn't expect it. So you know, everything is a bonus in my life.

REPORTER: Dwayne, was there ever any talk with your son Zaire, about maybe that Ken Griffey, Ken Griffey Jr. kind of moment?

- Yeah. My son-- my son talked to me about it. I said-- but I told him-- I said, listen, I don't want to put that pressure on you, because you had to get real fast. And right now, you're a junior in high school bro. That ain't fast enough.

So you know, if the rules is different, if everything was different, we'd have a different conversation. But you can go for years of school. That's six years, bro. I ain't got that. So I'm going to focus on finishing mine.

And we're going to focus on yours. You know, and our family has already shifted and put our focus on my oldest son from the standpoint of basketball, and him being the next one you know, in this Wade bloodline to play this game and hopefully do some great things you know, in this game. So, but he had the conversation with me. But you know, we're not going make that. Sorry, son.

REPORTER: Spoel think a lot of you guys will rest easy tonight, knowing what's coming tomorrow. How-- what do you think your mindset will be tonight and tomorrow morning, knowing what day one of a Miami Heat training camp typically looks like?

- You know what? I'm cool. Like, me and Spoel had a conversation about a conditioning test. And he was like, you know, I know you think about it. I was like, not really.

I mean, it is what it is at this point, you know. I'm going to give you what I got. That's all I got, you know? Like, I'm not-- I'm not worried. I'm just going to enjoy it, you know?

I'm going to enjoy it. When I get a little tired, I got some young guys to push in front of me and say y'all go ahead. I'm going to get a little rest. I'm cool. But I look forward to getting in there.

That's the first day where you know, it's like, you've been working all summer at this and that. But this is when it gets real, you know. And after that first day, is one of those. But like I said, I'm trying to enjoy this last of-- the first of the last. Whatever it is.

The last of first, I don't know. The last of the lasses. I'm just trying to try to enjoy. So I'm not really-- there's nothing that they can do to me this year that I haven't seen and been a part of and done. So I'm not the one to concern myself with.

REPORTER: Dwayne, how do you want to be remembered as not just an athlete in Miami, but as a community figure down here?

- Well, I mean, hopefully that continues, right? I'm going to continue to be a figure in this community. So that you know, even though I retired from basketball, you know, I'll continue to do those things that I've done in the community. And how you want to be remembered, you know, you just-- you just want to be remembered as somebody who wasn't-- there was attack-- that was a part of the community. Looked at themselves as a part of this community, and trying to do their best, your best to push the community forward and made community better.

And that's all I've tried to do. And you know, what has been big or what has been small, I've always tried to make the community that I'm a part of and a community has meant a lot to me and supported me, and other communities that I have no association with, I've tried to be-- be a part of helping those communities be become better. You know, my college coach always told me to whom much is given, much is required. And I've been given a lot.

It's required of me to continue to make the world a way that I would like to see it and how I can control it. I'm only one individual. I can't change everything, but I can do a lot. And I've been able to do that over the course of my NBA career. And I'd look to continue that you know, even more when my NBA career is over.

REPORTER: Dwayne, with this being your final season, how much will it mean to you to be able to catch Zaire's senior year of high school following that?

- Bro, a lot, you know. I hate missing games. I missed a game the other day because I had to go to my restaurant opening. And I was-- I was in between.

But I went to the one before that, so he was OK. But I know I don't like missing these moments. You know, these moments for me, it might be more important for me than it is for him. You know, just me being a 16-year-old kid, and my dad was different than I am. And he didn't come around to a lot of my games.

He was you know, he was a little tougher than me. But I don't know how long my son is going to play basketball. You know, I don't know if it's going to end after this year. Or it's going to end after a 16-year NBA career. I have no idea.

But I love watching him do something that he loves to do. You know, and I love watching him compete. I love watching the journey that he's going through. You know, a lot of it remind me of myself, but it also is different, because you know, he's Z Wade and I was the D Wade. So it's a different journey.

But I definitely can't wait to get to that point where he's like, Dad, you ain't got nothing else to do? You know? So we'll get there soon enough.

REPORTER: Dwayne, within the really select group of guys in this league who've reached the heights that you have, it feels like there's two kinds of players, guys who age and decline gracefully like you have, and guys who seem to have a harder time letting go of the player that they once were. And my question is, how has that process been harder for you than you've made it look?

- It is a hard process. You know, it's a tough process, because when you got it, it seem like you can do it forever. At some point, you going-- you ain't going to be able to take off the same, your body ain't going to get as loose, you know, your vision going to go a little bit. This is a lot of things that go in his game.

And you know, you just got to look in the mirror, man. You know, I think my whole career I've tried to look in the mirror. And I tried to say, OK, do I-- who are you this year? You know, what can you give this year? And like I said, each year has been different.

There's been some years where I've looked like I ain't got nothing left to give. And then the next year I come back and I gave even more to give. So you know, as an athlete you have to look in the mirror. You have to know you know, who you are. Be real with yourself, don't hide from yourself, don't lie to yourself.

And I've never done that. I've never lied to myself. I know my game. I know what I'm capable of. And you know, and that's the way that I approach it. So you hope-- you know you going to get older one day.

You don't know when it's-- you know you really don't know when it's coming. But as it come, you hope that you can still you be a part of a team, and you can still help a team win in whatever capacity that you're put in and that you can. And that's all I've tried to do. So everyone has their own ways and they own-- you know, their way of doing things. And whatever makes them happy is what they should do.

This is-- the way I've done in my career is obviously is what made me happy. And I said it hasn't been hard along the way. But you know, I've tried to understand the reason I started playing this game in the first place. And I started playing this game because I love it, you know. So I mean, I'm sitting up here in 16 year, very accomplished and I am making less money than I made my rookie year when I came in.

But the time when I was playing this game, it wasn't ever about that. You know, it was about the love. It was about the excitement, the way I felt playing this game. Like, I wasn't one of those guys that raised my hand in class because I was always shy and I didn't want to get the answer wrong. But I was on the court I was a different person.

And I liked that person that I was when I played basketball. And I wanted that for my life. And I've been able to accomplish that.

I've been able to become that person. So I've done-- I've done everything the way that I feel like it's right for me. And it doesn't mean it's right for anyone else.

REPORTER: Dwayne, was there anybody in the organization that you turned to help with your decision? Or did the team kind of give you your space? What is that dynamic like I guess, during the process?

- Well, the team gave me my space. You know, obviously, when the season ended, I talked to the powers that be. But you know, when it came down to it, it was Spoel. You know, that was the last conversation I had before I made my decision about it. It was Spoel on Friday, and I made my decision Sunday after golf.

After I realized I wasn't as good as golf as I thought, I was like, well, let me go play basketball one more year. But it was Coach, you know. It's crazy, man, we-- I go back to Spoel when I came in, you know, Coach Spoel being a video coordinator. And then being a guy to come up out of the practice to give me some extra shots. And then being the guy to really work with me on my game.

And then being my head coach. And everything we've been through. And for me, if I was going play this year, you know, you know, it had to be-- we had to sit down and we had to connect. And we both had to talk about everything you know, from beginning to end. And it had to feel right.

So ultimately, you know, I give a good coach about 5% of why I'm sitting up here today. He really made me feel calm, comfortable with you know, how this last year can go. Thank you, guys.