NBA: Dwyane Wade has a busy All-Star break ahead

NBA: Dwyane Wade has a busy All-Star break ahead
Tim Reynolds/Associated Press
Friday, February 16, 2007

J. Pat Carter/Associated Press

nbaallstarbillboardphoto3Dwyane Wade’s All-Star “break” is going to be anything but. Wade has the NBA Skills Challenge title to defend Saturday, will start in the All-Star Game on Sunday, and has meetings all weekend with his biggest fans – Lincoln, Gatorade, T-Mobile, Topps and Staples.

Associated Press

“Good Wade says I should shoot it, but Bad Wade wants me to dunk.” The Heat’s superstar shooting guard stars in a new Gatorade commercial that debuts tonight.
On TV
SATURDAY

6 p.m.: All-Star Saturday – Skills Challenge, 3-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk competition, TNT

SUNDAY

6 p.m.: All-Star Game, TNT

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MIAMI — Dwyane Wade will leave the NBA’s All-Star festivities and enter a Las Vegas hotel today to meet some of his biggest fans.

Converse will be there. So will T-Mobile, Gatorade, Lincoln, Topps, Staples, Marquis Jet and more companies that he’s aligned with – along with others that may want to soon start working with the Miami Heat’s superstar guard and budding sports business giant.

It’s called the Brand Wade Summit, the latest example of how Wade’s drawing power isn’t limited to the basketball court. Over 90 minutes, he’ll thank those he’s already working with and, perhaps more importantly, hear ideas on what might come next.

“You have a roomful of all my partners – all the people that care about Dwyane Wade and the Wade name and brand – together to talk and chat and see what direction they want to go in,” Wade said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I think it’s going to be great. I’m excited about it. It’s one thing I’m really excited about.”

And it’s just one part of what Wade – last season’s NBA finals MVP for leading the Heat to their first championship – calls an “insanely” busy All-Star break.

“It’s all still crazy to me,” Wade said. “It’s really not about the contracts and making money and doing commercials. It’s about us all being serious about the direction we’re all going, and doing the right things and making the right choices. That’s what’s important.”

All weekend in Las Vegas, there’ll be multiple events with sponsors every day, multiple parties every night, league-mandated media sessions, and, oh, the little matters of defending his title in the NBA Skills Challenge on Saturday night and playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday.

“It’s a challenge,” said Henry Thomas, Wade’s agent. “I’ve been at this for 18 years now, and I’ve had some star clients. But I haven’t had anything like this. Any agent in the business would love to have the opportunity to represent a player who’s become what Dwyane’s become. Has all this come faster than we expected? Of course.”

The weeklong Wade business blitz started Monday, when T-Mobile unveiled its new “D-Wade Edition” Sidekick, which Wade helped design. To celebrate the launch, T-Mobile will have a “wallscape” in Las Vegas this weekend, a 56,250-square-foot image of Wade holding the wireless device on the side of the Mandalay Bay.

On Thursday, he unveiled his new line of Converse athletic apparel, a collection of T-shirts, shorts, fleeces, warm-ups, shooting shirts and more that will be in stores early next month. He’ll also wear a new style of his signature Converse shoes – the Wade 2.0 – in the All-Star Game.

It’s the first time Converse has designed an apparel line around an athlete.

“I wanted mine to be different,” Wade said. “I wanted to make sure everything is great quality. I didn’t want something that someone will wash one time and it’ll be done. I want it to be perfect.”

Also Thursday, Staples announced a $57,500 program to improve 14 parks in South Florida, with the winning park getting $25,000 and five winning online voters a chance to meet Wade.

Today, it’s the Brand Wade Summit, followed later tonight by the release of his first solo commercial for Gatorade, a spot called “Good Wade, Bad Wade” that was filmed last fall in Miami and has Wade dribbling upcourt, trying to decide whether to shoot over a defender or dunk over someone. (It’s easy to guess which decision wins.)

Saturday brings more events with T-Mobile and Topps – before Wade will defend his title in the NBA Skills Challenge. He’ll start in the All-Star Game on Sunday night, flying home to Miami to rejoin the Heat after the game.

So, there’ll be no break during the All-Star break.

“I couldn’t get a break,” Wade said. “I tried. I couldn’t. There’s a lot of things I want to do and a lot of things I have to do, so I’ll just do my best to make it all work.”

Wade still remembers when all this was the stuff of his fantasies.

He grew up very poor and he and his wife often worried about how they would raise their son, Zaire, when he was first born five years ago.

But now, Wade can afford almost anything he wants – and afford to dream big, too.

He wants to be a movie star, build community centers in Miami and Chicago, keep reaching out to kids, all the while being mindful that his top priority remains trying to win another title or more with the Heat.

“I’m trying to do a lot of things, because I just don’t want to play basketball and retire,” Wade said. “I want to touch lives.”