Like any other kid growing up in the 90s with some basketball skills, Dwyane Wade wanted to become Michael Jordan. And especially being from Chicago, where ‘His Airness’ was nothing short of a god, Wade pretty much had no other option but to idolize the Bulls legend. However, growing up without a father in the home for a long time and living with his drug-addict mother, making it to the NBA was a long shot for the future Miami Heat legend. Wade believed a normal job was a more realistic option.

Dwyane Wade entered the NBA in 2003, selected as the 5th overall pick by the Heat. He would become one of the foundations of the iconic ‘Heat Culture’, securing the franchise’s first ever NBA championship njust three years after his draft. As soon as Wade came into the league, he revealed MJ to be his favorite player. With intentions to be like Mike and practicing game-winners like the 6x Finals MVP, Wade’s love for Jordan kept growing after making it to the NBA.

Wanting to be like Michael Jordan wasn’t realistic for Dwyane Wade as a kid

Although Wade did end up being the one of the greatest shooting guards ever behind Kobe Bryant, perhaps the closest to ever emulate Michael Jordan, it wasn’t a realistic goal for him while growing up. In a recent interview with Shannon Sharpe on the Club Shay Shay podcast, the 2006 Finals MVP talked how becoming a cop was a more practical path for him.

“When I was a kid I might have told my mom I wanted to be a doctor because I thought those were the things she would support me in. Me telling my mom, as a 5-6-7-year-old kid that, ‘hey mom, I’m gonna be the next Michael Jordan, I’m gonna play for the Chicago Bulls’, that’s not realistic in my community. Being a cop is realistic,” Wade told Sharpe on Club Shay Shay.

However, he went on to explain that MJ, Scottie Pippen, and the Bulls were the only things he cared about despite not having the courage to say it out loud.

His father and step-brothers, with whom he was living since he was eight years old, helped him achieve what he’d become. Getting to Marquette and dominating college basketball when a high schooler named LeBron James was the whole nation’s talking point, helped. After he made it to the league, D-Wade won almost everything there is for a basketball player to win.

Wade would become a Jordan Brand athlete, just to ditch his idol in 2 years
If somebody had told a teenager D-Wade that he’ll get to the NBA, win three Championships, a Finals MVP, and sign a sneaker deal with the Jordan Brand, he might have left the conversation midway, taking it as a joke.

However, not only did he achieve all that, but he also ditched Michael Jordan to do his own thing. The thing was a $10M deal with Li Ning though. That would become a big chunk of his $170 million net worth. MJ surely wouldn’t have minded Wade choosing money over him.