September 14, 2010
Last Friday, Gatorade hosted two Chicago-area high school teams in the latest edition of their Replay series. That night, Dwyane Wade's(notes) Bloom Township Blazing Trojans suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Dwight Howard's(notes) Brother Rice Crusaders. I can't be sure, but the loss may have been because D-Wade sat down with me prior to the game. Here's our interview, so you can be the judge.
Trey Kerby: You've been out of high school for 10 years now ...
Dwyane Wade: Whooooooooooooa. 10 long years, already.
TK: You've done a lot in 10 years though.
DW: Yeah, a little bit.
TK: Are you impressed with how far you've come in 10 years?
DW: No question. No question about it. You know, 10 years ago I never thought I'd be in this position. It's a dream and I don't even know if I dreamed this big. Very much so.
TK: What's it like being kind of back in a high school environment?
DW: When you walk in the gym, it's basketball. The popcorn is poppin'. I wanted to play as soon as I walked in. I just want to see the support. And I know high school games get rockin'. I remember playing back in these high school games, and [the fans] wouldn't shut up much. I know one thing about Brother Rice — they had a guy who ran around the whole game on the sidelines, so I want to see if they brought him back as well. It'd be exciting.
TK: Let's talk about when you were in high school. The Illinois Class of 2000 was a great class. Darius Miles(notes) was Mr. Basketball, there was Andre Brown(notes) and Imari Sawyer. Are you surprised that you bypassed all those guys?
DW: It was always a challenge for me to get the exposure, being at Richards, and those guys going to bigger schools and going to the best camps. I was never able to get in to those things, but I just waited until my time came. Once my time came, I was able to showcase my talents. More so, it's not about being surprising those guys, it's just that I got to showcase my talents.
TK: Now let's talk about this coming season — [Friday] Pat Riley said he's not ruling out you or LeBron playing point guard. Is that something you're expecting to do?
DW: That's something I do anyway. (laughs)
TK: Yeah, you handle the ball a lot.
DW: (laughs) Yeah, I play a lot of point guard. LeBron plays a lot of point guard. A lot of people are thinking too much on positions. When you look at our team, Mike Miller(notes) can play point guard, as well. Of course we're going to rely on Mario Chalmers(notes) and Carlos Arroyo(notes) to really be the "point guard" title, but all of us will handle the ball a lot, get us in to our offense and set up plays for other people.
TK: What do you think that's going to be like? Adjusting not just to a bunch of new guys coming in, but also that you're not going to be in such a strict position. You're going to be floating between playing off the ball and playing on the ball.
DW: I look forward to it. You play a certain way for so long, and change is good. So I look forward to change, and I look forward to playing with the proper talent that we were able to put together. It's going to be something special. It's going to be fun to play with. I just look forward to it and I can't wait to see how it all comes together.
TK: Are you gunning for 73 wins?
DW: No, not at all. We're gunning for a championship. If you win 73 regular season games, and you don't win a championship it doesn't matter.
TK: Oh, I had the Bulls shirt back in the day — "72 and 10 don't mean a thing without a ring."
DW: (laughs) Yep. Don't mean a thing without the ring.
TK: Do you think you're a better coach than Dwight?
DW: I hope so! I'm 0-1 right now against Dwight. We coached against each other in the rookie game and he beat me. To my credit, I had the younger team. Right now we're on an even playing field since a lot of these guys are around the same age, so we'll see what happens.
TK: Is that something you'd do after you're done playing? Would you coach?
TK: You don't want to coach?
DW: Not at all.
TK: Why not? Too much stress?
DW: Yeah. Too much stress, and I'm just not the coaching type person. I'm the kind of person who picks my spots, and as a coach you always gotta be going. I pick my spots when I decide to talk to guys and get on guys. That's not me.
TK: All right. Last question — growing up everybody wants to wear Jordans, and now that you do, is that as good as a person like me would think it would be?
TK: Is must be cool to have Michael Jordan call you and say, "Hey I want you to wear my shoes."
DW: Yes, it is. Just as well as you can explain it, I can explain it. It's one of the unbelievable moments in my entire life, and it's something I take with pride. Because I got the call from Michael Jordan himself. His brand is his name. It's his logo. So it really means a lot.
Thanks to Brad Burke, Bekah Lockner and Gatorade for sitting me down with Dwyane. And thanks to Dwyane for confirming what I've always suspected — that having Michael Jordan ask you to wear his shoes is really awesome.