Dwyane Wade and the Pursuit of Knowledge

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015

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Key Lesson:  Even when you’re at the top of your game, there’s always more to learn.

As a Miami Heat shooting guard, Dwyane Wade is one the NBA’s most admired players — both on and off the court. In addition to playing at the very top of his game, he’s also a dedicated family man. His memoir about parenting, A Father First:  How My Life Became Bigger than Basketball, was published to critical acclaim in 2013.

Whether he’s at home or at work, Wade stresses the importance of honesty and leading by example:  “Even though I’m not perfect, I always try to lead by example…If you can be honest with yourself, you can be honest with anybody.”  His quiet leadership in the philanthropic world is also noteworthy and typically low-key. Though known for spontaneous acts of generosity to those in need, he founded the Wade’s World Foundation in 2003, providing support to community-based organizations that promote health, education and the development of social skills for children in at-risk situations.

Tapping into the world beyond basketball appears to be a theme for Wade. Last week, he enrolled in and completed a four-day executive education program at Harvard called “The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports.” It’s not entirely clear what motivated Wade to attend the program. Maybe he was looking for insights into his ongoing contract negotiations with the Heat. Maybe he needed a distraction (his team didn’t make the playoffs this year). Or maybe he was preparing for his life after basketball.

As Wade told ESPN: “For me, it’s about what’s next. I had people say, ‘Wow, what are you doing here?’ They didn’t know what excites me, how I am, how I thirst for knowledge. So for me, it’s about taking what we learned here and see how it fits into what’s next.”

While Wade’s physical prowess and mastery of his chosen sport are obvious, we’d like to applaud him for his deep curiosity and his adaptive mindset. His focus on learning and applying his knowledge in new ways is what makes Dwyane Wade our Grounded Leader of the Week.