In A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger than Basketball, Dwyane Wade, a current co-captain for the Miami HEAT and eight-time NBA All-Star, shares insights on his life both on and off the court with a large focus on fatherhood, a topic of deep personal significance. Wade reveals his thoughts on fatherhood, detailing his personal experiences as a parent, and tracing his transformation from being the child of a single parent to now serving as one himself.
In the book, Wade opens up and reveals for the first time the intimate and traumatic details of his growing up and also the prolonged battle with his ex-wife for sole custody of his two sons, touching on:
·His mother’s struggles as a drug addict, and his growing up in Chicago among gangs, drug dealers and police raids (including a gut-wrenching story of young Dwyane finding a dead body in a garbage can)
·How he pulled himself up from such a life, thrived through basketball and maintained his devotion to his mother
·He has never talked about the prolonged battle with his ex-wife over sole custody of his two sons and why doing so was the most important thing in his life; and how the constant media attention has affected him and his boys
·His advocacy for fathers taking a strong role in their children’s lives; his main reason for writing the book is to help fathers see how they can do this and to see that they and their children can benefit from it enormously
·His childhood hero, his sister Tragil, who got him out of the mean Chicago streets, placed him with their father, and in many ways rescued him from a life that could have gone the wrong way
·The coaches who served as role models and father figures through high school, college and the NBA and how much they meant to him
·The HEAT's successful 2006 NBA Championship, with Dwyane being awarded Finals MVP, and his gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
In March 2011, in a landmark legal decision, Wade earned sole custody of his two young sons, effectively setting a new precedent for professional male athletes. Most recently, Dwyane teamed up with President Barack Obama to support his Fatherhood & Mentoring Initiative, a national parenting program geared toward encouraging fathers to become more involved in the lives of their children.
“As a child, I grew up with aspirations to one day be a professional basketball player, and I am living that dream every day as a proud member of the Miami HEAT,” said Wade. “However, the daily role I play in the lives of my two children is the single most significant undertaking of my life, and the job I take most seriously. While my basketball career has brought me many rewards – including an NBA Championship in 2006 and an Olympic Gold Medal in the 2008 Summer Games, my children are the two greatest gifts of my life.”
A Father First also highlights Wade’s phenomenal basketball career — from his early days shooting hoops in Chicago, to training at Marquette University, to emerging as an unheralded draft pick to receiving MVP honors in the 2006 NBA Finals. In a narrative that spans two generations of the Wade family, Wade’s book encourages parents to lead by example and make being a caregiver the top priority.