Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 17th , 1982. Dwyane Wade's story began when shortly after his birth his parents, Dwyane Sr. and Jolinda Wade, were separated.
Dwyane Wade's mother Jolinda received custody of the younger two children, Dwyane and his 5 year older sister Tragil. Jolinda struggled and forced to be on welfare causing Wade and Tragil to bounce from place to place with their mother and her two daughters from a previous relationship
Dwyane Quote: "There were no birthday presents or Christmas gifts," Wade says. "You just didn't ever ask for what you wanted. It was my mission as a young kid to overcome being poor. I had so many dreams, so many aspirations."
When Dwyane Wade was 8 and Tragil was 13, she changed the course of his life by simply tricking him onto a bus ride. Instead of going to the movies as she'd promised him, she dropped him off at their father's home in another south side neighborhood.
Tragil returned to Chicago, but Dwyane stayed in Robbins with his father. His father had remarried, and Dwyane took a liking to his new home, new family, and new friends.
"It was two days before I realized she wasn't coming back," Wade says. "She was trying to get me away from the gangs and drugs, which was outside in our faces every day, right infront our mother's house. She didn't want me to get caught up in it."
Tragil stated: "We were raised to protect each other. It was a very stressful lifestyle with our mother. Our dad was with another lady, and he had three sons as well. I felt it would be better for Dwyane to be in that environment, with male role models."
The next year, Dwyane Sr. moved his family to a house in Robbins, Ill., a south Chicago suburb. "It was a rough suburb, but it was a big step up," Wade says. "You could be outside late at night and you wouldn't hear gunshots."
The new environment allowed Wade to play basketball with his stepbrothers and their friends, which included 9-year-old Siohvaughn Funches, who would later become his first and only serious girlfriend, and ultimately, his wife.
Siohvaughn was a year older than Dwyane, and when Dwyane reached high school, she noticed him immediately. They soon began dating, remained sweethearts through high school, and eventually would go to senior prom together. (Hint. Hint... Love & Basketball replay)
Dwyane's senior year of high school was difficult. Although he was dominating on the basketball court, which managed to earn him seventh place in Illinois' Mr. Basketball voting, his father Dwyane Wade Sr, and stepmother were having marital problems. To further complicate the situation, DwyaneWade's wife Siohvaughn was away at Eastern Illinois completing her freshman year at college.
Dwyane couldn't use the phone at his house, so the only time he could talk to Siohvaughn was at her mothers / Darlene's, house. With all the turmoil at home, Siohvaughn's mother, Darlene, offered him a home to live in during his senior year.
An obstacle Dwyane Wade had to overcome, was that he was having difficulties meeting the academic requirements necessary to play basketball in college. He received help by getting tutored for the ACT by several schoolteachers, including Jack Fitzgerald (more on Jack Fitzgerald), the Richards High basketball coach.
"His teachers came to me and said: 'What can we do to help him?' " Fitzgerald says. "Usually, with star players, the coach has to ask the teachers to give the kids a break. But we could all see how sincere he was about wanting to better himself through a college scholarship. We did everything we could to help him."
Dwyane Wade had the smarts and could back this up with being on the honor roll in high school, but missed the required ACT score by 1 point. Failing the test kept many larger programs from seriously recruiting him, so Dwyane's choices were becoming more and more limited.
DwyaneWade's wife Siohvaughn, Darlene, and Tragil assisted him with his final selection of college which was chosen to be Marquette. Dwyane Wade then entered Marquette as an NCAA partial qualifier in 2000 after graduating from Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
Dwyane had to sit out his freshman year at Marquette because of his academic standing. Due to the ACT short coming, Crean (Marquette basketball coach) went out to reach out, assuring Marquette's administration that he was well worth the risk of being the first partial qualifier in school history. In his freshman year, Wade practiced with the team and dressed for home games but couldn't play or travel.
Crean seen potential in Dwyane Wade and continuously rode him hard. Dwyane quotes: "Coach was harder on me than anybody else," Wade says. "When we lost, he'd come in the locker room and blame me, say it was my fault because I hadn't practiced hard enough. He wanted me to be a leader so he forced me to tell the guys how I felt about their performances. I wanted to call home and say, 'I can't do this.' It made me stronger, made me really want it more."
"We never treated him as a guy who sat out. We kept him at the front of the bench, either taking stats or notes. We never let him say, 'Woe is me.' "
At Marquette Dwyane Wade chose to major in Broadcasting, since his agenda is to stay within the basketball field after he is done playing. This is the year we he proposed to Siohvaughn.
The following summer, Dwyane traveled to Europe to further work on his game. What a coincidence it was that Dwyane played the traveling all-star team in Italy in the summer of 2001 for Bill Van Gundy who is the father of HEAT Head Coach Stan Van Gundy.
It was there he received the phone call that he was going to be a father.
Dwyane Wade faced another challenge that he would have to overcome. Becoming a father demanded a steady income and at the time he and his wife were living on limited resources. Perhaps this was the inspiration he needed.
When Dwyane Wade finally had the opportunity to play during his sophomore year and showcase his game, he immediately made waves. In fact, his play gained him significant recognition. Meanwhile, Siohvaughn remained in school throughout her pregnancy, and on February 4th , 2002, gave birth to a baby boy, Zaire Blessing Dwyane Wade. They were married shortly thereafter.
"It gave something I'd been searching for all of my life," Wade says. "To have a person who believes in you so much and a child with a light in his eyes gave me the foundation I needed to flourish.
"My wife and son are invaluable to me. She inspires me, and our marriage has helped me mature and be responsible."
The following fall, Siohvaughn transferred to Marquette College, and watched as Dwyane emerged became one of the elite players in the country. His pure game earned him:
* AP All-American honors
* Conference-USA Player of the Year
* C-USA Defensive Player of the Year
After his stunning performance in the NCAA tournament against Kentucky, in which he logged only the third triple-double in the tournament's storied history, Wade's stock soared. He was projected as a sure NBA draft lottery pick.
Although it was hard to leave his school, his team, his friends, his coaches- Dwyane decided to forego his senior year at Marquette and enter the NBA draft. The Miami Heat took him in the first round, going 5th overall.