Dwyane Wade is still adjusting.
For the first time in 16 years, the NBA season will tip off without Wade as one of its signature players. The 2018-19 season, dubbed “One Last Dance,” was his last in the league.
Wade, who played with the Heat, Bulls and Cavaliers, said he’s unsure about how retirement is treating him.
“I don’t even know yet,” Wade said to the Sun-Times recently. “It’s only been three months into the summer. I haven’t even been retired yet. I’ll let you know when the NBA season starts back up.”
What is a certainty is that Wade will be a shoo-in, first-ballot Hall of Famer when he’s eligible in three years.
The Chicago native won three NBA titles, was a 13-time All-Star and is regularly mentioned as one of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history.
But he’ll need to figure out what to do with all the “vintage” jerseys he collected after at least 18 of the players he swapped jerseys with during his final season will be on different teams this upcoming season.
“All I know is my jersey swap collection is looking kinda bootleg since [free agency] started,” Wade said in a July 11 tweet. “In 20 years, ain’t no one believing those players played in those uniforms.”
Wade, who was in Chicago hosting his annual youth basketball camp and attending a Sky game, spoke to the Sun-Times about the WNBA, his oldest son’s upcoming senior year of high school and more during a visit to the Chat Room.
Have you picked up any new hobbies since retiring?
Dwyane Wade: “I guess the newest thing would be golf, right? All former athletes get into golf. Something competitive. But I’m also spending time with my family. I got a lot of kids who do a lot of things.”
What’s your golf score?
DW: “[laughs] Nothing I wanna talk about yet. I’m new, I’m new [laughs].’’
How do you feel about Zaire’s [Wade] upcoming year?
DW: “It’s his senior season in high school. He’s transferring to Sierra Canyon in Los Angeles. It’s going to be an exciting year out there, a lot of great young players that are playing together. We just want to continue to work on him and put him in the best situation, so he can go to the right school for him.”
How does it feel to see him and LeBron’s son about to team up?
DW: “It’s cool to be able to put our kids in positions to do some cool things. Me and ’Bron obviously teamed up. And now our kids get to play together in high school. It’s a cool thing about being friends. Being able to do things like that. But we also understand that we’re putting them in great situations, a great place to play at and a great school in Sierra Canyon, playing against great talent.”
Are you trying to steer him toward Marquette?
DW: “Nope. No. Marquette ain’t offered him. Not at all. Ultimately, whatever’s going to be the best school for Zaire, they’ll come and find him.”
Did Gabrielle Union convert you into a Nebraska fan?
DW: “Yeah, I am. I go there every year. Football — you know, go Big Red. I support. I’m all the way in.”
So what do you think about the Fred Hoiberg hire?
DW: “I think it was great. I love Fred. I think he’s going to be a great college coach, again, as he did the first time around. I look forward to what he’s going to do up there. I go up there, I play with some of the guys and work out with those guys. Hopefully, he has success.”
What brought you to the Sky game?
DW: “Just have an opportunity with my camp this week. A couple of young ladies — Diamond [DeShields] and Cheyenne [Parker] — came to my camp, which I appreciated, and I told them, ‘Before I get outta here, I’ll make sure to come and watch you guys.’ ’’
I saw Cheyenne gave your daughter the shirt.
DW: “Yeah, and she’s wearing my shoes today, which I appreciate. She didn’t have to do that. NBA, WNBA — we’re all hoopers. We all respect each other. I’m thankful for what she’s doing for my brand and wearing my shoes.”
How important is it to show outward support for the WNBA?
DW: “A lot of NBA players are supportive of WNBA players. We love basketball. It’s some great basketball that’s played in the WNBA, just as well as the NBA and just as well overseas. I always say some of the game’s best players are WNBA players. We want to see it grow. We want to see it get there. It’s been 20 years. It’s been too long. Hopefully, the wave is coming in the time that we’re in. It’s time for our WNBA women to get their just due and their recognition. Hopefully, it happens.”
Did having a daughter help give you this perspective?
DW: “Definitely. My daughter is 8 months today, but you never know. She may want to be a future WNBA player. I think a lot of NBA players are doing it, especially over the last three to five years with supporting. When you have a daughter who loves sports and grew up around it, they may want to be on this stage one day. Hopefully, the game grows bigger. If my daughter wants to play here, by the time she gets here, hopefully they’re selling out every night in every arena.”
Have you been invited to Taco Tuesday yet?
DW: ‘‘Yeah [laughs]. I’ll go one day. I got a standing invitation. I got a lifetime invitation.’’
What are your taco toppings?
DW: “I’m simple, man. I don’t really do a lot. I love lettuce, a little sour cream, a little tomato and cheese, and I’m good.”
How important is it for athletes to have camps like you do to keep kids off the streets?
DW: “It’s very important. Most of us grew up in the inner city. We look like, walk like and talk like a lot of the kids that grow up in these communities. We have to be examples. We have to do things, obviously, from a foundation standpoint. I’m sure each guy does something. We gotta continue and change the cycle of what’s going on.”