Wade County: The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade

So it’s no wonder Miamians want to keep Wade in their midst. Fans have been dreading his free agent status, first launching the “Wade County” campaign, followed by the “Good Enough Ain’t Enough”, a running theme for the 2009/2010 season, and one that Wade takes to heart, saying that even though the Heat is a respectable franchise, he wants to be better than merely good. “I’m ready to be a part of an organization and team that is set in a position to win for a long time to come,” he says. “I want to make sure that I don’t rush into a decision [about where I will play next] and that I make the best decision for me and my family. When I look at it, this is for the rest of my career, and I have to start thinking about my legacy—what I’ve built to this point and what I want to leave behind for my kids to know and to see.” He strives to be the best—best player, best father, best all-around man—so that his two young sons, who mean the world to Wade, will continue to look up to him as they grow. So even though the Heat ended the last season with a respectable record, the team, led by President Pat Riley, who already renewed his contract, has to be ready to pony up for some additional talent if they want to keep their superstar. Luckily, it is one of the only NBA teams with the capital to not only keep Wade but also pursue another max player (read: one who will increase franchise value upon signing) and possibly an additional all-star.

It’s not just the Miami Heat that would hurt if he decides to don, say, a Chicago Bulls jersey. Wade’s positive impact in Miami extends beyond his three-point skills; his Wade’s World Foundation, launched in 2004, is an integral part of the philanthropic scene in South Florida (as well as in his native Chicago and Milwaukee, where he attended college) providing support for educational, health, and family service programs throughout the region, with a focus on underserved communities.

To get a first-hand perspective of the foundation’s positive impact, we met up with Wade in December 2009, at Boomers! arcade and amusement park in Dania Beach, Florida, where he was hosting one of the annual “3 Under the Tree” holiday events. It was a festive occasion where more than 300 kids from local church and youth groups joined Wade for a play date of sorts. He raced around the go-kart track, shot mini hoops, played laser tag, engaged in friendly bowling competitions, and posed for countless photo ops, all with his signature, sly smile.

You can see that smile for yourself at his dedicated Ustream page,
www.Ustream.tv/dwyanewade. Ustream is an interactive broadcast network; think of it like YouTube, but live. While anyone with a computer, camera, and network connection can broadcast videos to an unlimited amount of viewers, some superstars—including will.i.am, Snoop Dogg, and Wade—have participated in Ustream All Access, which takes the edited reality television craze to a new level by following the celebrities for an entire day, streaming the unedited feeds live for thousands of viewers who can comment and interact with the stars.

Wade was one of the first to participate in Ustream All Access, which launched in December 2009. During his broadcast, which took place the same day as the “3 Under the Tree” event at Boomers!, he frequently stopped his activities and sat down at a laptop to chat with users who were tuned in to see what it’s like to be D. Wade. Prior to his day-long streaming spotlight, Wade was already a Ustream user, often uploading videos, chatting with fans, and showing his appreciation for their love.