Offseason knee surgery prevented Dwyane Wade from being part of Team USA's gold-medal run at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but the Miami Heat star has stayed busy this summer, overseeing his own adult basketball camp (where he made those comments about LeBron James playing at Michael Jordan's level), flying over to London to hang with the U.S. Olympic squad and rehabbing to be able to get back on the basketball court in time for training camp (which he did for the first time since surgery this week).
He's also been preparing for a publicity tour to promote his new book on parenting, titled "A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger than Basketball," which will hit bookshelves on Sept. 4, 2012. Wade worked on the memoir, which details his at-times difficult childhood in Chicago and his efforts to use what he learned from it as he raises his own children, while going through a difficult custody battle with his ex-wife, who was arrested and charged with attempted child abduction, unlawful visitation interference and resisting arrest during a tumultuous stretch back in June.
While the book primarily focuses on off-court matters, Heat beat man Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel pored through it to extract some hoops-related knowledge, and found a surprising amount — for example, Wade describes former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy as "always on edge" and coaching "from a state of high alert," and suggests coach Erik Spoelstra "might have been trying to see what would happen if he could get me to play mad" when the two famously squared off on the sidelines during Game 3 of Miami's Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Indiana Pacers.
He also found this:
In [Wade's] darkest days of a difficult youth, he turned to watching "Knight Rider" alongside his grandmother, writing, "I actually told David Hasselhoff how he helped me get through the tough times in childhood."
... which is awesome.
For those poor, unfortunate souls too young to remember, "Knight Rider" was a television program that aired in the early and mid-1980s, starring young 'Hoff as what Wikipedia describes, fairly brilliantly, as "a high-tech modern-day knight fighting crime with the help of an advanced, artificially intelligent and nearly indestructible car." Each episode began thusly:
So you can see how a young Wade would've been smitten.
A non-Wade aside: Granted, I was between the ages of 0 and 4 when "Knight Rider" graced NBC's airwaves, but I am pretty sure the "modern-day knight" angle consisted entirely of a name change. Hasselhoff's character, a Los Angeles police officer named Michael Long, gets shot in the face and nearly killed but is then rescued by an impossibly wealthy vigilantism booster — basically the T. Boone Pickens of extralegal public crime-fighting. The super-rich dude, whose name is Wilton Knight, decides after saving Hasselhoff's life that "Michael Long" is that old mess, and that the name/persona of "Michael Knight" would be that new hotness, and so the identity change is made.
This seems pretty weird, but I guess you don't quibble too much when some mysterious rich dude kind of randomly saves your life. (Except, of course, that that's precisely when you should start asking some questions. Especially when he decides he wants you to be his main crime-fighter.) I guess you could say that he becomes a knight by virtue of his fighting crime, but, I mean, he was a cop before, and that was his job then, too. I guess "Michael Cop" and "Cop Rider" wouldn't have been great names for a character or television show, though.
Also, the car could talk and its voice was Mr. Feeny, which is probably still too old a reference for many of you, but likely a bit closer to the mark. The whole thing was pretty great.
(Also also, we regard all attempts at reinvigorating the "Knight Rider" brand taking place after 1986 as non-canonical. We do this because it is the right thing to do.)
While you might be tempted to think that this was just sort of an Easter egg that Wade tucked into the middle of his book just to see if anyone was still paying attention, some quick Intersleuthing indicates that, if it is, then Wade's playing a long con:
• In celebrating Chicago native Wade, the Cook County, Ill., Clerk's website — boasting a copyright date of 2009 — notes as a "fun fact" that his "favorite show growing up was 'Knight Rider.'"
• Three years ago, Hasselhoff tweeted, "Just met Dwyane Wade at Alonzo Morning's retirement party just by chance. Turns out he and his grandmother loved Knight Rider...Wow!!" According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Hasselhoff "asked excitedly if Dwyane Wade would be there" at the private party, held at Miami Beach restaurant Prime 112, "and could he please come back later to see him."
• In a 2010 interview that discussed "Knight Rider," Hasselhoff said Wade once "jumped out of his car to go, 'My grandmother and I used to watch that show!' I went, 'Oh, my God ...' Dwyane Wade!"
The lesson, as always: Talking car + sweet hair + leather jacket = lifelong impact. Personally, I'm just interested in knowing what lessons from "Knight Rider" and its glorious (if all too brief) run Wade has incorporated into his parenting style. I guess I'll have to buy the book to find out.