Dwyane Wade laughs as he talks about adjusting to retired life in the San Fernando Valley.
“You can definitely call me a local because I have to pay taxes here,” Wade said. “My family is here, so most of my time will be spent here now supporting my family, but I also have a family in the Miami Heat that I’m going to go back and show love to.”
Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union, purchased their 8,650-square-foot Sherman Oaks home last year for just under $6 million with their sights set on settling there after Wade finished his 17th and final NBA season with the Heat in April. As Wade gets used to rush-hour traffic in L.A., his oldest son, Zaire, is getting acclimated to playing high school basketball with LeBron James Jr., who goes by Bronny, at Sierra Canyon in Chatsworth.
LeBron James and Wade have been close friends since they were selected in the 2003 NBA draft and were teammates from 2010 to 2014 with the Heat; going to four straight NBA Finals and winning back-to-back titles. They never thought they would be reunited on the sidelines of a high school gym in Southern California, watching their sons play.
“It’s crazy,” Wade said. “It’s something we never even talked about. Even when we were together in Miami, they didn’t go to the same school. At this time in both of their high school lives, to be able to put them together to hopefully do something special this year at Sierra Canyon is great. They also have two other great young players in Ziaire Williams and Brandon Boston. We’re really excited about this season. It’s going to be fun.”
The wheels on this one-year pairing — Zaire Wade will be a senior while Bronny James will be a freshman — were set in motion last year when James signed a four-year, $154-million contract with the Lakers and Wade closed on his current home. When Wade asked James about possible schools for his kids to attend, the idea of their sons going to the same school made sense.
“It really boiled down to being in the same city,” Wade said. “LeBron knew we were going to move here when I was done playing, and he obviously moved here a year before us when he decided to come to the Lakers. So we went through the same decisions they had gone through. What school was the best school for our kids? Bronny was at Crossroads, and we definitely thought about Crossroads as well, but Sierra Canyon is obviously a powerhouse school after winning the last two state championships. So for us, it was a great basketball school as well as a great school for academics. That was the best school for both of them.”
Although Wade retired last season, he is on the cover of the “Legend Edition” of the NBA 2K20 video game, with Lakers forward Anthony Davis on the cover of the standard edition of the game, which was released Friday. Is there any chance Wade could be inspired to play one more season with James after watching their sons team up for one season?
“I’m done, but my trainer is going to keep me in shape just in case something happens,” Wade said, smiling. “I’m going to stay in shape because you never know. Never say never.”
Staying in shape for Wade might actually include him working out with James before games at the Lakers’ training facility in El Segundo and at Staples Center, which will undoubtedly lead to rumors of a potential reunion this season.
“You’re definitely going to see me out there,” Wade said. “I’ll be there early to work out with LeBron before the game starts. I just want to stay around it and be as involved as I can.”
If Wade doesn’t return to the NBA as a player, don’t look for him to sign with a team in an official capacity just yet. He’s enjoying retirement life as a father, mentor and occasional workout partner and isn’t looking to be tied down to one organization just yet.
“The cool thing is I have a great relationship with all the players,” Wade said. “It’s already something I do. I’ve been working out in the gym with guys like Ben Simmons and Josh Hart this summer in L.A. I’m able to pass my knowledge down to them, so it’s not necessary for me to have an official role with a team to do that. I love the game of basketball, and any time I can get in the gym with one of these younger players, I’m going to do it no matter what.”
Wade’s rationale sounds similar to the reasoning Magic Johnson gave when he surprisingly stepped down as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations before the final game of the regular season. During his impromptu news conference that day, Johnson said he thought about Wade and his inability to tweet at him or be at his final game because of his job.
“I was shocked when he mentioned me when he resigned,” Wade said. “Magic lives an amazing life. I just got done seeing him in St. Tropez, as he’s celebrating his 60th birthday. He wanted to get back to that life. I was just appreciative that I was someone that he thought of and how he wanted to get a chance to see me play or to reach out before my last game. I wish he could have been there, but it was cool that he said that.”
No matter what Wade decides to do in the future, he anticipates spending much of his time this year around basketball, both at Sierra Canyon as he watches his son and James’ son on the court together, and at Staples Center as he watches James try to lead the Lakers back to the NBA Finals.
“I think L.A. sports is in an amazing place right now with football, basketball, baseball and even high school sports, and I look forward to being a fan and rooting all these teams on,” Wade said. “Obviously with LeBron being on the Lakers, I have a dog in the fight, but you have the Lakers and Clippers, two of the best teams in the league and the hottest tickets in town. People want to go watch both of these teams because they’re both in the running to come out of the West and play in the Finals. They could play each other in the Western Conference finals, which would be great. Golden State still has the heart of a champion with everyone they have coming back, but I think L.A. is going to win the championship.”