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Dwyane Wade seems fearless. He’s won three NBA championships, is a thirteen-time All-Star, and this weekend is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Wade’s achieved full-time GOAT status and yet in one chat with the superstar, I’ve discovered his Achilles heel. Dwyane Wade is afraid of birds.

Pigeons, penguins, parrots—you name it—any kind of bird and the man of the moment is going to need a moment. But let’s be honest. Even birds have nothing on Wade. He’s always been the toughest guy on the court, the sharpest shooter, the heart of the Heat. So it’s only fitting that he is finally taking his place among the greatest legends of the league. And before he rolled up to his Hall of Fame ceremony, Wade and I took some time to catch up on what it all means to him.

“The simplest word is ‘everything.’ It means everything to me. Because I set out as a kid on a journey to do something and be someone,” Wade tells me. “I started playing basketball when I was 5, I fell in love with it at 9, and at 17, I put down exactly what I wanted for my basketball career. This was in my school yearbook. I was like, ‘I want to retire in 20 years as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.’ And I actually retired 20 years from that year. I retired at 37 as one of the greatest to ever play the game.”

Erica Melissa | Metelus Studios

He’s preparing his speech, “The Final Love Letter,” as Wade calls it. We’ll be getting into the contents of said letter in a bit, but it’s only fitting that we first acknowledge the fashionable fit of the orator. “I think for the moment for the Hall of Fame, Versace represents everything I want to be on that day,” he says. “But my style overall is versatile. I’m trying to bring a combination of my entire life into my clothes—like the athlete, the businessman, the father—all of these things.” He goes on to add, “It’s been a journey. A lot of my ideas on being clean or dressing comes from what I’ve seen growing up. I grew up watching my father, and I grew up watching my uncle, and I just loved the way they dressed. It was just the care that they had with what they were wearing and how they put their outfits together.”

Between tank-top takes, aviary angst, and dad advice, the Hall of Famer takes us inside his life beyond basketball. (Well, there’s a lot of basketball, too.) He’s human, he has fears (obviously), but he’s also accomplished what many can only dream of. So sit back and relax because Wade is bringing the heat.

The Love Letter

I’ve been sitting here writing my Hall of Fame speech, right? And I’m calling it “The Final Love Letter” to the game. As I write this final love letter, of course I’m thinking about what’s next, and I’ve already been preparing. I’m really jumping into the modern man. I’m really jumping into my version of a Renaissance man—like what does it look like in 2023? I think I’m trying to embody that because that’s who I am. I think the easiest answer would be that I want to be a Hall of Famer in everything that I do. I have a level of expectations for myself, and I carry those expectations in everything. I just have so many things that I want to do. It’s silly because you think, “Oh man, you won three rings. You’re going to the Hall of Fame.” And this is such a piece of my life. But I have so much more that I want to accomplish.

Erica Melissa | Metelus Studios

A Versace Moment

We thought with this moment being such a big moment—and the relationship that we’ve been building and are continuing to build with Versace—that it was a good time to continue to keep telling our story. So we have a few custom looks from Versace. The color scheme, color palette, tells the story that we want to tell. But a custom Versace look is also classic. Because of my previous relationship with everything that we’ve been doing, like the campaign, everyone’s excited about it.

Erica Melissa | Metelus Studios

Favorite Fashion

To me it’s about what are the most versatile pieces. So if you’ve seen a lot of me lately, it’s all about the tank tops. Because they’re so versatile; they can go with so many different things. Like right now I’m wearing a Versace tank with some cool shorts. But I can also go on the red carpet and rock it with a suit. Or like I did the other night with high-waisted pants. So I think for me, it’s about the essentials in my closet. There’s so many pieces in there, but I’ve got to have me some great tanks. I’m looking for brands to make even more great tanks. If they’re reading this, please: Make more great tanks.

Erica Melissa | Metelus Studios

Skincare Standards

I care about my full body. When I’m home, I try to get a facial every two weeks. In the midst of that, I have the face wash, the toner, the brightening serum, the booster—like I have six things per day and night that I use on my skin. I’m not blessed to have beautiful skin without doing work on it. So yes, I have an elaborate routine that I have to do twice a day. I want to age well. Obviously, it’s important what I put in my body, but it’s also important what I’m doing to my body. So I work out a lot, I train a lot, I want to be fit, but I also want my skin to be soft. I want it to represent how I take care of myself.

Flipping (at) the Birds

Yeah, this has been a consistent in my life. Me and birds really don’t mess around. Like here’s the thing, if a bird gets close to me—especially a pigeon—I’m gonna lose my shit. I’ve been hit by birds before, I’ve been shitted on a few times. Yeah, we don’t get down. You know, people say if you get shit on by a bird it’s good luck. And I’ve been shit on about four times, and I’ve had some good luck. I was on vacation with my daughter last year, and a bird flew into the house. And I was upstairs in a room, and I wouldn’t come out. My daughter was laughing at me. I will step in front of a lot of things for my family, but when birds come around—nah, I’m cool. I bring my daughter outside on certain mornings, and we look at the sky, we look at the trees, we love looking at birds. I love pointing out birds, as long as it’s from afar. Like it just does something to the inside of my body as I see it get closer. It feels like—I don’t know—if you’ve ever seen somebody that looks just like you and is walking towards you. You will freak out. I’ve tried to be like, “Okay let me get over this bird fear.” And I’m just not able to do it.

Erica Melissa | Metelus Studios

As a Father

I want my kids to see themselves. I want them to be able to look in the mirror and really know who they are. And I’m not saying they are going to know today. It’s really so hard in this world when you’re trying to look at somebody and compare yourself to them. I don’t want my kids to be in that space where they are comparing themselves. I know it’s one of the hardest things because we all do, but ever since they were young, we do affirmations every night. We’ve been doing this with our kids for a long time because we want them to see themselves, their beauty, their greatness, and their strengths. And understand what they can accomplish without the world saying, “You can’t do this” or, “You should be this.” I’m always sharing with them those things, because I’ve learned how to do that, as someone who’s been in the public eye. I’ve learned how to just really look in the mirror and focus on the person who’s looking back at me. I know that if I take care of him, everything else will be taken care of. I can focus on what nobody else is doing or thinking. I can be inspired by what someone else is doing, look at it and learn lessons, but I can’t be that person. So to me, that’s the message I’m always sending my kids: Focus on you, and think about what you want to be and how you want to be it.

The Star(s)

I’ve set the bar high for myself. I’m going to fall short of it. I think the thing is that if you reach for the stars, you will come down with a few of them. Like I’ve reached as high as I could in the game of basketball, and I didn’t end up being the GOAT, I didn’t end up being better than Michael Jordan or whichever GOAT, but I ended up pretty damn close. I’m in the same room as all the GOATs. Like I reached for the stars, and I came down with a few. In every aspect, I want to be better. Even as a parent, I want to be better. I want to grow. I don’t want to have the same mentality that I had when Zaire was born through his whole life. I want to continue to keep evolving, have an open mindset about everything, and just continue to understand that I have so much to learn.

On Doing It Himself

To go through that journey with all the barriers that were put in my way for me to give up—the surgeries, the ugly public battles—there are a lot of people who are willing to help you if they see that you are willing to help yourself. But you have to be willing to do it yourself. And it was me versus me. And to know that on the days I wanted to quit, I didn’t. It was hard. I wanted to quit a lot of times on this journey; it was lonely. How do I believe in something that I can’t see? You know, my dad wasn’t in the Hall of Fame, my uncle wasn’t. I didn’t get a chance to see, “Okay, this is the route.” So it’s just everything. I set out saying I wanted to do something and be something in this sport. I want to be this kind of person, I want to be this community leader. So at 41 years old, to be able to look back and say, “Man. You did that.” Like that is everything to me and to a kid who can be inspired by someone.

Erica Melissa | Metelus Studios

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