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Dwayne Wade, Our man in Orlando

1 December 2014

Dwayne Wade, basketball player, 32


Miami Heat’s Chicago-born guard has won three NBA Championships and is one of the best-known and loved players in the National Basketball Association. But off the court, he likes to keep life simple

I’ve been living in Miami for 11 years, so I’ve been to so many places – too many. But you know what, I still try the restaurants out. Everyone who comes to Miami goes to a steakhouse on Ocean Drive called Prime 112, or the popular Japanese restaurant, Zuma. I’ve tried all of those sorts of places, but I’m not big on going for a night out. 

What I enjoy the most about Miami is the culture. Everybody is different. I love that about this place. I grew up in a neighbourhood in Chicago where all of the people I could see were African Americans. I was able to get outside of Chicago and understand that there was more to life than just what you can see from your window or outside of your door. Miami is a huge city that has opened my eyes to an even bigger world. 

Miami is obviously famous for it’s beautiful beaches, and I like the beach, but I just couldn’t live on the beach. I think it’s better to live between the city and the beach, so you can enjoy relaxing but also the buzz of the city. I think I have that balance. I live close enough to the beach where I can just jump in my car and drive down there, but not too close that I can hear what sort of crazy things are going on over there. 

I live close enough to Down Town, so I can probably get there in 15 minutes as well. If you’re going to live in Miami, you have to work out where you’re most comfortable, and for me, it’s to have all of those things but not being mixed up in the middle of it. For me as a player for Miami Heat, the Arena is just the place that I go to work. 

There are certain places inside the Arena that I’ve never been. I know they turned an area into a club and areas to eat, but I don’t go in those places. I come to the Arena to work. I’m either practising there or playing a game there. It’s a job, so I really haven’t experienced all of the things that are on offer for the fans. That part, well it isn’t even there to me.

People come in dressed to impress. It’s so different. There is a culture here that a lot of NBA arenas don’t have. That’s why people love coming to the arena – you just never know what you’re gonna get. I do love the game, but above anything I love the camaraderie in the Heat camp, and that’s what I am going to miss most when I eventually decide to walk away from the game – the camaraderie of my teammates, the guys, the brotherhood. 

Then, of course, I will miss the game, because I’ve played it my whole life. I want to compete at the top level for as long as my body is going to let me. I don’t shop in Miami. My stylists do most of my shopping. I’ve never been good at going into shops, I’m just one of those people. I’ll go in and walk out with nothing. I am just so picky when it comes to clothes. 

I like to have a little staycation in the city, and it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing with my family quite a lot recently. I like to take my sons and my fiancé [Gabrielle Union] away from our home to spend a weekend in a beautiful hotel, where we can enjoy a combination of the hotel, pool and the beach, but still have a little privacy as well. We just did it at the St Regis Bal Habour Hotel, one of the newest in Miami, and it was awesome. It’s unbelievable there, and my family and I had a great time. They treated us well, too.

I’m a simple guy. I really don’t do a lot of things. You know, every now and then I will hit the town, take my lady out or hang out with the fellas, but not really a lot. I’m in and out. My lady loves live music and it’s really hard to find in Miami. Everyone goes to places like Club LIV at the Fountainebleau Hotel. It’s probably one of the biggest known places in the world. 

For me, I like hanging out at the Soho Beach House. You can have a great conversation, there’s music, great food and just a good vibe. My lady and I also like to hang out at this place called Love Hang. It’s a small place that has a great DJ, great music and it’s not too crowded. I’m always into the places that are not like, “To the window to the wall…” I’m a little more low key than that. 

I’m not going to say the games I play now are as exciting as the first one, but at the end of the day, you love to play this game and you want to play this game at anytime and anywhere. To still have that 11 years later, to still be playing in the NBA, to still be on the team that’s competing for the Championships, what more can I ask for? It’s exciting in the way that 11 years later I am still able to do what I love and with a great a team. 

No matter what happens, whether my next two years are in Miami or not, I think my loyalty will always be with the Miami Heat. I love this franchise, I love the people in it, and no matter what happens no one can take that away from me.

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