The NBA’s leading scorer last season drops a major assist back home.
by Aggrey Sam
Have I mentioned I love Chicago? Being in the Windy City is already paying off for me, as evidenced by me getting some one-on-one time with Dwyane Wade recently. Wade held his annual Wade’s World Charity Weekend last weekend and while I did talk to him about some hoops-related issues pertaining to the upcoming season, he really focused on his foundation’s efforts in his hometown.
I met up with Wade at Praise Temple Church, located deep on the city’s South Side, on Halsted Street, a major strip in the Chi. I was told there would be a press conference, but even after seeing no type of fanfare outside, I was surprised to walk in and see the Miami Heat superstar interacting with the little kids at the church’s school and genuinely enjoying his time with them.
When I got a chance to sit down with him, the first thing Wade mentioned about his charity weekend was wanting to create a diversion for the city’s youth from the recent spate of violence in Chicago.
“I’m here the whole offseason, this is where I come back to. When the season’s over, I get out of Miami and i come back home,” said the seventh-year vet, who recently bought a house in the Chi. “So I always feel something for Chicago, whether I’m flying in and I’m feeling good about coming home or I feel something for these kids in Chicago.”
“Because I was them before, so I understand what they’re going through,” he added. “A lot of kids in the hood that’s not getting the opportunities that other kids are getting, I’m trying to give them these opportunities so they see more than just what you see on the news or what they hear or what they see or hear in their community; give them hope that someone believes in them, give them a chance.”
The Wade’s World Charity Weekend, like most celebrity events, included posh parties, but the All-Star also showed off his understanding of community involvement and issues in the city by trying to make others aware of his cause.
“We’re having a dinner…getting everybody in a room, from the top businesspeople in Chicago, to people who just want to be involved in the foundation and getting them to understand what we’re trying to do,” said the All-Star guard. “Getting them to follow the movement, and hopefully support it financially and physically, as well.”
“To give back to the community and try to help these kids, give them opportunities in life,” continued Wade, who also does a youth basketball camp in the area every summer. “Besides just what they get in school and outside of school so they can get away from all the killing.”
Other specific events over the weekend included a bowling party (lanes were auctioned off as a fundraiser), a talent show, a youth summit, another visit to a local elementary school (to which he made a major donation) and a school-supply giveaway at the very same church where I interviewed him, but the perhaps the most poignant display of his good faith happened closer to home.
While Wade is generally claimed by Chicago as a whole, and split time growing up in the city itself as a youngster, he actually lived in Robbins, an underprivileged town in the south suburbs. It may not have made national news, but a major local issue here has been the pending shutdown of the Robbins public library, due to lack of funding. As the son of a librarian myself, that’s something near and dear to me personally, so the fact that last year’s leading scorer in the League started off his weekend with a surprise visit to his old stomping grounds to drop off a check that will help keep the library open makes me look at his assist game in a whole new light.
On an unrelated note, I was recently sent a video of Wade’s former coach with the Heat, Stan Van Gundy, doing a coaching clinic in Orlando last weekend. Say what you want about SVG being a “master of panic,” but the man is obviously passionate about his craft. Check the Orlando Magic coach out in action, courtesy of Fast Track Scouting: