If the recently retired Dwyane Wade is going to miss playing in the NBA, those emotions haven’t hit him yet.
“Like I handle my normal summers,” Wade said of his first offseason as a retired player during a Sunday appearance in Orlando at the Jr. NBA Global Championship.
“Just enjoying myself, spending time with my family, continue to try to work on my businesses and try to get a little time away. See I’m a little dark, so I got a little tan. Outside of that, I don’t feel retired yet. Once training camp starts, media day, all those things that I’m used to and I’m not involved in that, that’s when it will feel like: ‘Oh dang, I really retired.’”
Until then, the 37-year-old Wade has made sure to enjoy himself this summer after 16 NBA seasons. He’s traveled, he’s gotten tattoos, he’s changed hairstyles.
But most importantly, Wade has been able to enjoy his family as he has split his time mostly between Miami and Los Angeles since his playing career came to an end in April. And he’s been able to watch his oldest son, Zaire, play basketball.
“I’m enjoying watching my 17-year-old son kind of go through this process,” Wade said of Zaire, who is entering his senior year and will play with LeBron James’ son, LeBron Jr., at Sierra Canyon High School (California) next season.
“I’m good being a part of that, having more time. I got a nine-month old daughter as well at home and I got to be there. But I’m enjoying from a basketball side of being a part of helping my son grow. Hopefully one day he can play on the big stage. He’s got a lot of work to do. But I’m able to give whatever I have to him right now, and that means more than what I can give to the NBA right now. I can give a little bit, but I can give more to him.”
That doesn’t mean the retired Wade has forgotten about his former team, though. When asked about Heat first-round pick Tyler Herro, Wade said he has kept an eye on the guard out of Kentucky.
“I followed the summer league and got to see whatever the Heat posted on their page,” Wade said. “I haven’t been around the players yet but I like what I see. When the Miami Heat draft somebody, you gotta know how they’re built. So, I already know he has a special build about him and now it’s just about what work he wants to put in to become whatever player he wants to become. He looks like he wants it. I can’t wait to see what happens this year in his rookie year.”
Wade is also happy to see close friend and longtime teammate Udonis Haslem return for a 17th season with the Heat. Haslem announced his decision to push back retirement on Tuesday.
“I think it’s great,” Wade said of Haslem returning for another season. “We had many talks throughout last year, throughout this summer. It’s something he still wants to do. He wasn’t ready to walk away from the game. He still has so much to give to those players in that locker room, continue to move the culture forward. He’s an important piece of leadership and he’s a big piece for Erik Spoelstra. I think they understood that. I think both sides, the Miami Heat and UD, came together and said, ‘Hey, we still want you involved in your role and what you do for the players.’”
Wade could have returned for another season, too. He was still productive in a sixth-man role in his final NBA season, averaging 15 points on 43.3 percent shooting with the Heat.
For Wade, it just felt like the right time to walk away after compiling a long list of accomplishments.
“I feel complete,” said Wade, who won three NBA championships with the Heat. “That’s why I was able to walk away from the game like I did because I felt complete. My career, it surpassed everything that I ever dreamed of. I think that’s the thing, some guys don’t accomplish some of the things that they want to, and they feel like they still have something in them from that standpoint. For me, I’m complete, man. I’ve done everything I wanted to do and more.”