Dwyane Wade recounts being seconds away from Chicago gang leader taking him out

4 Min Read
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade explained that his life was in jeopardy at one point well before the Miami Heat legend ever stepped foot on an NBA court before his father Dwyane seemingly saved his life.

“My dad always, growing up, he would go play at the lakefront,” the younger Wade said while reflecting on a memory he had during his formative years. “He would take us as we were growing up. So, we down there hooping, bro, and I had a little attitude problem. And somebody fouled me. I just took the ball, and I just slung it at they head. Then, this dude took that ball and threw that ball back at me so fast I didn’t even get a chance to finish my throw before it was back at my head. Bob [Metelus], when I tell you it got scary and fast — you saw the gun go, I was like, ‘Uh-oh.’ So, we came to find out that it was, this guy was one of the leaders of the gangs in Chicago, and yeah, we was outnumbered.”

The elder Wade then explained how he saved the younger Wade.

“But I had a friend that was playing with us that knew all of them, and he was like, ‘Yo, they’re my boys,'” the elder Wade said on how he helped the younger Wade out of a sticky situation. “‘That’s his son. Let it slide.’ That was a dangerous time, though. We might not have ever got to see him in the NBA.”

The younger Wade was born and raised in the city of Chicago and attended Harold L. Richards High School, which is located in the state of Illinois.

But the younger Wade didn’t play basketball at the collegiate level in the Chicago area, as he decided to take his talents to Marquette University and play for the Golden Eagles for two seasons. Across 65 total games played with the team spanning the 2001-02 and 2002-03 campaigns, he averaged 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per contest.

After the younger Wade stuffed the stat sheet at Marquette, the Heat decided he was worthy of being selected with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. The younger Wade was part of a draft that is widely recognized as one of the best in league history in terms of talent, as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh were all selected in the top five.

The younger Wade then spent nearly the entirety of his 16-year NBA career with the Heat and helped establish Miami’s reputation as a storied franchise. In his 15 seasons as a member of the Heat, he was selected to numerous All-Star games, led the league in scoring on one occasion and won an All-Star MVP award on top of guiding Miami to its first three titles in franchise history.

The 42-year-old won his first title in 2006 alongside one of the NBA’s most dominant players ever in Shaquille O’Neal and proceeded to win titles in the years 2012 and 2013 while playing with two other members of the 2003 draft class in James and Bosh.

Heat fans and NBA fans in general are fortunate that the younger Wade managed to live past what must have been a terrifying experience.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.