But mostly, it’s a celebration of fatherhood, and his sons. In addition to bringing up Zaire and Zion, Wade is helping raise his nephew Dahveon Morris, who lives full-time at Wade’s La Gorce Island home. Wade owns a necklace with the bejeweled letters ZZD, which he says is his way of “[carrying] my three boys close to my heart at all times.”
Tracy Mourning, wife of retired Heat great Alonzo, is intimately familiar with the push and pull of parenting and professional sports. Mourning has watched Wade grow as a father from the early days and was a guest at the baby shower for his youngest, Zion, she added.
“What really makes a man stand out to me are his faith and his interaction with his children,” Mourning said. “Dwyane is strong in both. He’s a great example of what it means to be a father.”
Ruthlessly intense on the court, Wade is easygoing and happy off it — and no more so than when he’s around Zaire, who’s 10, and Zion, Mourning said. On the same day the Heat opened its closer-than-expected Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics, Wade threw a Lion King-themed fifth birthday party for Zion, posting pictures on Twitter of a personalized cake and wishing a happy birthday to his “mini me.”
“He absolutely adores and loves his kids,’’ said teammate and friend Udonis Haslem. “You know ever since he went through his divorce and everything’s been finalized it’s just been like a breath of fresh air for him. He’s a lot more happy. We have stories and jokes to tell about our kids all the time, [about] how fast they’re growing and how old we’re getting.”
Wade is caring and, at times, downright silly when he’s around his kids, Jolinda said — but he’s no pushover. He doesn’t often let the boys come to night Heat games, especially during the school year, because they end way past the kids’ bedtime.
Wade isn’t just a dad, Dwyane’s mom added. He’s their Daddy, the guy who consoles them when they’re “crying and all snotted up.” And while Wade is famously low-key, his demeanor turns fiercely protective the instant he feels like his kids have been wronged.
“He just loves watching them grow as little men, watching the ‘mini me’s’ grow,” Jolinda said. “He’s having a part of directing their lives.”
And in no small way, they of his.