Dwyane Wade has never been shy about speaking his mind, and that level of honesty and social awareness has reportedly caused some to consider the Miami Heat legend as a possible political candidate in Florida someday.
He recently addressed the matter during an interview with Sopan Deb of the New York Times.
There were some reports in the spring that Florida Democrats were recruiting you to run for Senate.
[Laughter] I heard that.
Have you ever been approached to run for office?
So describe to me what that approach was like.
I mean, it’s just conversation. “Hey, you would be good for,” “Hey, we can see you in,” “We would love to have you in.”
It’s things that I’m passionate about that I will speak out on and speak up for. And so I don’t play the politician games. I don’t know a lot about it.
But I also understand that I have a role as an American citizen and as a known person to be able to highlight and speak on things that other people may not be able to because they don’t have the opportunity to do this.
So you’re running.
Wade, whose teenage daughter Zaya is a transgender model and activist, has said he does not live in Florida partly due to anti-transgender policies under Gov. Ron DeSantis. Florida Republicans reportedly filed more than 15 anti-trans bills during the 2023 legislative session.
In April, the 41-year-old explained that his family would not be accepted or feel comfortable in Florida, which is partly why he does not live there.
The state has not had a Democratic senator since 2019, and the party has not held the governor’s office since the 1990s.
“Dwyane Wade is a Florida legend, whose leadership past and present has a lot of folks in our state sending feelers out,” said Ray Paultre, the executive director of a progressive donor group that plays a significant role in Florida Democratic politics. “We have seen former athletes, in both parties, bring something special to the political landscape. He hasn’t been officially approached, but he is on the list of four or five dream candidates to challenge Rick Scott.”
The elder Wade this summer joined the ownership group of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, saying the role with his hometown team is a way to show another level of support for the league and its players.
Florida’s policies under DeSantis have had a controversial effect on the NBA in other ways as well. The Orlando Magic recently made a donation to a Super PAC supporting the governor, which drew backlash based on his efforts to change Florida teaching curriculum in connection with slavery and African-American history.
Public school teachers in Florida must now instruct students that slaves “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
The elder Wade certainly would have the name recognition required of a successful political candidate after he won three NBA championships during his 15 seasons playing for Miami. Considered one of the greatest players of his era, Wade is being enshrined in the Hall of Fame this weekend.
It is a worthy recognition for his basketball career, which could possibly serve as a springboard to another challenge in the very different arena of politics if he so chooses.