“Can’t Pay for the Food”: Dwyane Wade’s Financial Struggles Almost Ruined His AAU Career

Published 12/28/2023, 8:54 AM EST

Follow Us

via Imago

Can you imagine a world where Dwyane Wade didn’t get recognized for the generational talent he was? Because before the age of 8, the Chicago native lived in a world without basketball. He lived in a world where all he had was his elder sister. “My parents’ addictions took them down a path that was solely for them and about them,” Wade told PEOPLE. “I missed family. Besides my sister, I missed structure from parents.” In the absence of that structure—accentuated by his parents’ divorce—they were barely making ends meet. And although Wade went on to create history when he was selected by the Miami Heat in 2003, he couldn’t have done it without his on-court family.

America’s Favorite Video Today

Recently, in the episode of the ‘Run it Back’ podcast, the 3x champion sat down with Mateen Cleaves for an interview. Having gained recognition during his AAU stint, he revealed there could’ve been a scenario where he might not have made it to the AAU at all. But that’s where his team came in.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Flash said, I can never forget, [then-coach Larry Butler] asked me to play on the team, and I just immediately said I can’t do it because I can’t pay for the hotels, I can’t pay for the food, I can’t pay for the travel. We just ain’t got it.” But Butler wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer. Just like his team collaborated on the court, they did it for Wade as well. He added, “So it became a collective effort to get me to go play, like people putting their money together to make sure I have money to go on this trip.”

Considering his home situation was a contributing factor to this, you would think the 13-time NBA All-Star would hold his parents accountable. But “I never blame. I understand that we all have our own lives. We all have our own journey,” he said. In fact, just as his basketball career started blossoming in 2001, his mother vowed to overcome her addiction. As for his father, Wade credits him for bringing basketball into his life.

Watch This Story | LeBron James and Michael Jordan’s 2 Astonishing Feats in Peril as 30YO Star Inks Richest NBA Annual Contract

If you think about it, he wouldn’t have been one of the best payers of his generation without his father. But that also wouldn’t have happened without his on-court support systems in the AAU. For that reason, the champion has always praised his coaches for their support. 

Dwyane Wade attributes his success to his coach and mentors’ impact 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

We know Wade for the spectacular career he has built. D-Wade isn’t just a Hall of Famer. He’s practically a legend of his generation. However, Wade’s story of his AAU days takes us back to the time when he had just begun attracting people’s attention to his game.

One of the few people who took notice of the young, talented player was his high school coach, Larry Butler. Despite showing the promise he had, no one thought he would one day be among the elite players in the NBA. As a player for the Illinois Warriors, he averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds as a senior in high school. Larry Butler said about his talent, “Dwyane Wade, by his senior at Richards High School, totally dominated the game, defensively, offensively. He could do anything he wanted to.”

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest NBA stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

It was back in senior year when he started to show his true potential. One of his former teammates once described how he dominated his senior year by dropping 89 points in two games, scoring 48 points in one and 41 in the second game. The Miami Heat legend has, therefore, always given credit to his mentors who saw his potential and helped him fulfill his destiny.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

From shooting hoops to being a savvy businessman, he has been able to reach milestones people only dream of. Have you seen Dwyane Wade play with the Golden Eagles? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Pissed At LeBron James And Dwyane Wade, $160 Million Worth Rapper Attempted To Destroy Their Teammate’s Marriage Only To Seek Revenge

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Pritha Debroy

932Articles

One take at a time

My love for basketball kicked off with the Portland Trail Blazers. The team's spirit, their thrilling plays, and the dedicated fan base had me hooked from the get-go. Now, I'm all about blending my passion for the game with my love for writing.
Show More>

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today