Over the past 12 months, things have been a bit of a whirlwind for the Miami Heatís Dwyane Wade. Itís not every year that a third-year-pro leads his team to the NBA championship, wins the NBA Finals MVP, has the torch passed to him by one of the NBAís all-time greats, Shaquille OíNeal, and then jumps right onto the roster of USA Senior Menís National Team with the hope of reclaiming basketball glory in the name of the stars and stripes.
Recently, as Dwyane was at work trying to help the Heat repeat as NBA champs, his wife Siohvaughn was in town to assist with the NBA Store Holiday Toy Drive and sat down with us to give us an idea of the crazy year theyíve had together.
First, tell us a little about what is going on at the NBA Store and your role.
Siohvaughn Wade: Iím just trying to help put the word out there of what is going on with event that theyíre having that lasts until December 21st, and trying to be more involved with different things that NBA Cares does. The more toys we can collect the better. Theyíre going between New York Cares, who will be donating to hospitals and homeless shelters and community centers, and the Miami Heat Charitable Fund, which does a lot of work with South Florida SafeSpace Domestic Violence Prevention.
How crazy has this year been for both you and Dwyane?
Siohvaughn Wade: No sleep. I forgot what that feels like. It has been great. Itís been a lot of work, itís been a lot of traveling and itís been a lot of sacrificing, but itís all for such a good reason. We kind of take it as a lot of people have to do this same thing when it comes to helping others, and thereís no award involved, thereís no great feeling involved. This is just something that other people are required to do for whatever reason and our reason just so happened to be a blessing, so we donít complain.
Over the last year there have obviously been so many charitable causes that both of you have been involved in. Any that really stand out and any on the horizon?
Siohvaughn Wade: I am so excited. I just started a group for young girls called A Womanís Worth helping at risk girls that happen to be from the community that I came from, that me and Dwyane both grew up in. That is really, really exciting. Even the small things that Iíve done are exciting. Weíre looking to eventually build a community center where we came from. For the people that go to the basketball camp that Dwyane runs every year and combining that with all the girls that are members of A Womanís Worth, I am just really excited about that. I have participated in a lot of things, but it is just a different feeling to do your own and be in the midst of it and be a part of the foundation.
What has the reaction been like when Dwyane goes back to the old neighborhood?
Siohvaughn Wade: People are very, very excited for him. But I think that is more from the children. I think adults that see this and have children are inspired. I hear adults all the time telling their son or daughter, ďSee you can do it, you can make it.Ē He is kind of the light that shines in a dark place. There is a way out. It means a lot, especially to see the parents, because it gives them hope, and theyíre able to pass that hope on to the kids.
Over the summer, Dwyane was a member of the USA Senior Menís National Team that traveled overseas. What was that like?
Siohvaughn Wade: Well, I didnít go the whole time. I didnít do China, but I did do Japan. I loved it. The people in Japan were so polite. The customer service is just on a whole Ďnother level. I really did enjoy it, a totally different experience, and it was just time where I was able to be away from everything. I didnít bring the kids. He was working of course, but I was having a good time.
What was the reaction to Dwyane like overseas?
Siohvaughn Wade: Surprisingly, itís crazy. We think of another country as another world, but it was amazing to see people wearing jerseys. I even took pictures with people. I was like, you gotta be kidding. Everybody has a D-Wade jersey and weíre in Japan. That was so crazy to me. I was amazed, but he had told me about it when he was in China. He said, ďBabe, youíre not going to believe this, but I have fans in China.Ē So that was amazing. You see this is really getting big.
With all that has happened, how do you both stay grounded?
Siohvaughn Wade: A whole lot of praying. It is not easy. Reminding yourself, reminding each other that none of it is promised the next day. This isnít how life works. This is a blessing and knowing where your blessings came from helps keep you grounded. When you stay focused on that, you know it has been given, but that doesnít mean it canít be taken. You enjoy your moments, but at the same time youíre very humble and you try to make a difference while you can. I think that helps the most, feeling that itís not promised to you tomorrow.
Are there times when Dwyane has to step back and keep himself in check?
Siohvaughn Wade: Not on a daily level because he is so busy. For Dwyane itís work. For anybody else itís kind of like, this is amazing and weíre watching dreams come true, but Dwyane is up in the morning trying to fight rush hour traffic. On a daily basis, I donít even think he thinks about it, but when something big happens, just something phenomenal, like the Sports Illustrated award, especially with what is going on with our country, then I think it is the only time I would feel like he needs to say, self, letís keep it together.
Since you mentioned it, what was his reaction to being named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year?
Siohvaughn Wade: He is so happy. He emailed me the picture of the cover not too long ago, so heís excited.
Of everything that has happened over the last year, what has been the most amazing moment for Dwyane?
It's been quite the year for the Wades.
Siohvaughn Wade: I would say the championship so far. That has been amazing. To be doubted, that really bothered him. He felt like no one really believed in him and to overcome in that way. Itís not just to come from behind in the race and catch up, but to actually end up finishing the race and winning, thatís a different feeling. That would have to be the biggest thing.
Have you noticed a chance in yourself or in Dwyane since he has arguably become a superstar?
Siohvaughn Wade: It would probably be hard to see it in yourself. But, I am not going to admit to anything like that, especially not for the worst. Seriously though, I am a lot busier. When you achieve stuff like this and you have all these accolades and all these great opportunities, thereís work involved. I donít know where the people have time to just sit around and gloat and their head grows larger. Where do you have the time? But as far as changes, I would say nothing negative at least.
Having known Dwyane for so long, did either of you see this coming on such a huge level?
Siohvaughn Wade: You know what, we felt it would at every different level Ė high school, college. It seems like the blessing always increased and he always outdid himself. Whatever he thought he could do, he always ended up surprising himself. But how fast it happens, that is a different story.
So with Dwyane being featured in Menís Health and as one of People magazineís previous 50 Sexiest Men Alive, how much gloating goes on with your girlfriends?
Siohvaughn Wade: It all depends on which day. I mean the day the issue hits then yeah, I might do a little gloating. After that it dies down.
Going forward, are there certain things that both of you would like to accomplish away from the basketball court?
Siohvaughn Wade: Outside of work opportunities, because right now he has more than enough on his plate work wise, we just really, really are trying to concentrate on the foundation growing. Weíre really trying to make a difference, put smiles on other peopleís faces. God knows we have plenty of reasons to put smiles on ours. So weíre just trying to do that. That is the focus right now. Itís like, what more can you ask for right now success wise and business wise, on and off the court? So right now weíre just trying to reach out to other people.