Dwyane Wade let his 15-year-old son Zaire get behind the wheel of his Ferrari “for a few blocks” Saturday afternoon in Miami, and filmed it for his fans on Snapchat.
Zaire made it back home safely and even parked the car by himself as his father got out and guided him in.
Wade, 35, was at the wheel of the Miami Heat for 13 seasons and three championships up until last summer when his desire for a bigger payday eventually led him back home to the city of Chicago on a two-year deal.
The Bulls, in the midst of a rebuilding project, are expected to buy him out at some point before the end of next season, freeing him up to potentially reunite with the Heat. The idea doesn’t appear to bother anyone who plays for the Heat.
“It would be great,” Heat center Hassan Whiteside said Saturday night at a fundraiser for his foundation at the River Yacht Club in Miami. “You’re talking about three-time NBA champion coming back, coming in and really helping the team out. It would be great.”
Even with all the new pieces in place since Wade’s departure, Whiteside, the league’s leading rebounder last season and a teammate of Wade’s his first two seasons in Miami, said Wade would fit right back in.
“He’s a great basketball-IQ guy,” Whiteside said. “He can find you on the lob. He can find you in a pick-and-roll situation, and he’s a great scorer.”
Said Heat guard Wayne Ellington: “Obviously this is something that D-Wade helped build. Obviously the city and us as a team being able to have a guy like that on our team would be amazing.”
Ellington, James Johnson, coach Erik Spoelstra and general manager Andy Elisburg were among the Heat representatives on hand Saturday night to support Whiteside, who brought along his mother and girlfriend. The foundation was raising money to help underprivilged athletes in single parent homes.
“The foundation helps kids – kids with their basketball dreams,” Whiteside said. “It helps build basketball courts, and it really helps underpriviledged kids do things that I wasn’t able to do when I was younger.”
Ellington and Johnson arrived at the restaraunt/club in a boat with former NBA player Carlos Boozer and former University of Miami star Jack McClinton.
“We’re always trying to support each other – that’s part of our brotherhood,” said Ellington, who along with a handful of teammates attended a party Dion Waiters threw in Philadelphia earlier this month. “We’re always trying to be there to support each other especially if somebody is having an event that’s good for the community. But we’re friends first. If somebody is going to have something we’re going to go hang with each other.”
That’s certainly the case when it comes to basketball, too. Saturday morning, Ellington said, he and six teammates were in the gym together working out. The Heat do not start training camp until the last week of September.
“I don’t know if there’s a lot of teams that have that going on – the type of dedication we have and friendship,” Ellington said. “We feel like we built something that is special and we’re thankful as a group that we got to stay together for the most part.”
Welcoming the new guys in hasn’t been a problem.
Over the past month, Whiteside has hosted both rookie Bam Adebayo and former Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk, who signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the the Heat this summer, at his home for both dinner and some video game sessions.
Earlier this week, Udonis Haslem, voted the Heat’s best teammate with the biggest impact on and off the court by the NBA Player’s Association, posted photos of he and Adebayo working out inside AmericanAirlines Arena.
“Bam is a really talented kid,” Whiteside said. “A lot of times you forget he’s so young because he’s got a great work ethic and he’s really big.”
Said Ellington: “I’ve been around [Olynyk and Adebayo] already and they’re great guys. So it won’t be hard at all from that standpoint. Obviously on the court, all the guys that have been together last year, they’re going to have to gain our respect when we get out there in training camp. But other than that, they’re great assets to what we’ve got going on.”
Clearly, Heat players feel Wade would be also.