For the Wade family, basketball is a sport that has become part of their storied memories. In an exclusive interview with M&F, Zaire Wade reflects on life as the son of an NBA icon, and explains how maturity and a desire for longevity has allowed him to cement a unique relationship with his father, NBA legend Dwyane Wade, while upping his own game on the court.
“Obviously, my most vivid was in 2008 I believe, back when Kobe was playing, in the Garden, Lakers versus Celtics,” recalls Zaire. “I was at that game, and I remember my dad taking me to the first finals that I remember … I was only three or four at the time, so I was getting my young journey started there.”
The journey that Zaire was getting started on meant that he would follow in the footsteps of his already legendary father, who spent the majority of his 16-year career with the Miami Heat, is a 13-time NBA All-Star, and is also Miami’s all-time champion for scoring points, assists, steals, shots made, and shots taken. As if all that wasn’t enough, Dwyane is also a two-time Olympian, representing team USA for basketball and winning a bronze in 2004 and then the ultimate prize; a gold medal in 2008.
Being a Second-Generation Athlete Was a Double-Edged Sword for Zaire Wade
While having a respected dad has its advantages, the expectations placed on the next generation are greater than most fledgling athletes will be met with. “I think I’m studying him a lot more now, than I used to, just because I am getting older,” admits Zaire, who is now 21 and has a pro career of his own. “That double edged sword: having someone who is so close to you, that you can just watch every day, ask any questions in the world that you want, not everybody has that access, and that ability to, you know, pick his brains. So, I definitely took advantage of it growing up, but I wish I did a little more (of) being just open, and asking more questions but (being a second-generation athlete) is definitely an experience.”
Perhaps that desire for Zaire to figure out some of life and sporting’s answers, all for himself, was essential to his development as an individual. Zaire shone in his own right at college, earning multiple scholarship offers before opting to turn professional instead. In 2021, he made the team for the NBA G League’s Salt Lake City Stars but an injury to his ankle would prove to be a devastating and season ending injury. “It was like a tough time for me back then,” shares Zaire, pausing to find the right words. “To try and figure out what’s the next step to take, as far as keeping my body healthy, my body stronger.” Zaire took control of his destiny by studying different health supplements as he tried to heal, and began the recovery process with a desire to have a longstanding career just like his father did. “That’s what we want in this game,” he says.
Now, both men are working with Thorne on their “Build to Last” campaign. Fueling the campaign is a philosophy aptly named “No Shortcuts,” and while neither man had an easy route to success, both athletes say that Thorne products are now an essential part of their daily routines.
“It’s the Thorne Amino Complex,” answers Zaire, when asked about his favorite supp. “Obviously it helps me a lot with my muscles, and tendons.” Now playing in the Basketball Africa League (BAL), Zaire is once again dominating the court. Back in February, he scored a career-high 17 points and feels that playing overseas has allowed him to develop in a new environment. And, while Dwyane retired after more than one thousand epic games in 2019, he still looks match-fit at 41.
Thorne tells M&F that one of Dwyane’s go-to Thorne supplements is the Daily Greens Plus drink. It’s full of vitamins, antioxidants, hormone support, which is ideal as we age.
Zaire Wade Has Learned to Listen In Order to Reach the Next Level
A day in the life of Zaire involves starting out his day with some “heavy” shooting, where he fires off as lot of shots in a short space of time, practicing different spots and rhythms toward the hoop; some with dribbling, and some without. After the shooting comes a more strategic practice phase, involving plays such as DHO’s. The “Dribble Hand Off” is a way to screen the defenders from the ball while passing it to a teammate. “I’m just trying to make all of my workouts kind of game like,” explains Zaire of his current training.
Logging all those hours on the court helps Zaire to dissect his performance, but does Dad offer words of advice too? And how easy does Zaire find it to accept constructive criticism? All families must have their squabbles at some point, right? “Yeah, you know I think our family does, of course, but I think with us, our relationship is so unique because it’s ours only,” shares the proud son.
“And that’s how we like to keep it. We don’t like to let other people get in the way of what we have, so I just always know that he’s the first person to tell my like ‘listen, you gotta do this because you love to do it,’ and not because I’m trying to follow any expectation or anything. Once we got that out of the way it just became pure love. He started to be able to be more hands on and critique me a little more, and things like that. And he does, he gets on me, but I need it for sure, because I know it’s coming from a place of love and somebody of his stature. When we talk about the basketball world, you can’t not listen at that point. You can’t not take the criticism if you want to be as great, or half as great.”
It’s not just constructive criticism that Dad likes to share. Dwyane also has a lot of praise for his son, and what he’s accomplished already. Zaire is loving life in Cape Town and says that playing internationally was never part of his plan, but turned out to be the missing piece to the puzzle of his own development. “Finding new friends out there, teammates, relationships that are going to last for a long time,” he shares. “I feel like this is an experience that I needed to have in this time of my life where I’m still young and trying to figure out what’s the next step, trying to get to the next level. I feel like I’m in a great place.”