“I started this off thanking you, and I want to end it the same way. I owe you a debt of gratitude that I’ll never be able to repay,” Wade, 41, emotionally told his father during the Saturday, August 12, ceremony, asking him to stand up from his seat in the crowd. “When I would cry and say, ‘I can’t,’ you made me go harder. You pushed me to the limits I didn’t know were inside of me [and] the hard work I put in was because I didn’t want to let you down.”
Wade Sr. and JoLinda Wade welcomed the NBA all-star in January 1982. While the pair split during Wade’s childhood, Wade Sr. helped his firstborn pursue his basketball passions. The Dwyane author noted on Saturday that his father’s coaching made him an “unstoppable force” — even when he got kicked of Wade’s games for his over-the-top reactions.
“Even though I hated being called ‘Little Dwyane,’ I admired you as a kid. I admire you now,” the former Miami Heat star added. “We had the same exact dream and we carry the exact name: Dwyane Tyrone Wade. To know we hustled all the way to the Basketball Hall of Fame is God’s will. So Pops, I know your knees are a little sore, but will you join me on stage as we take our rightful step into basketball heaven?”
Wade’s father, wearing a green suit, joined his son on the stage. “I love you and I’m thankful for you,” Wade concluded his message before they shared a hug. “We in the Hall of Fame, dawg!”
Wade — who retired from professional basketball in 2019 — was one of the NBA legends to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday.
“It’s a badge of honor to be the first, of all the great players, in @MiamiHeat drafted and @marquette.basketball history to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” he wrote via Instagram several hours earlier. “Thank you @hoophall for such an amazing honor. Mama, we made it.”
In addition to his father, Wade — who sported a custom Versace suit and golden Tiffany & Co. rings — was joined by wife Gabrielle Union and his children. He shares son Zaire, 21, and daughter Zaya, 16, with ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches, son Xavier, 9, with Aja Metoyer and daughter Kaavia, 4, with Union, 50.
Zaire and Zaya, for their parts, were spotted tearing up as their father honored Wade Sr. “Hero. Congrats Dad,” Zaya gushed via her Instagram Story on Saturday, resharing footage of Wade’s dedication.
Following the ceremony, Wade and Union celebrated his athletic accomplishment at an MGM Grand-held afterparty. An eyewitness exclusively tells Us Weekly that the couple “were very affectionate, hugging and kissing,” with Union “beaming” with pride.
Wade and the Bring It On actress brought Kaavia to the party, who quickly became the “queen of the dance floor” and commanded attention from fellow guests.
The bash also featured a surprise performance by Lil Wayne, who dedicated his 8-song set to Wade. The basketball icon, who sipped on Grand Marnier during the festivities, was spotted rapping along to every word from his perch in the front row.