Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 17th , 1982. His parents, Dwyane Sr. and Jolinda Wade, were separated shortly after and his mother, along with his older sisters Tragil, Deana and Keisha, took care of Dwyane in South Chicago. At the age of 8, his life changed when his sister, Tragil, then 13, put Dwyane on a bus headed to the suburb of Robbins, Illinois. Tragil returned to Chicago, but Dwyane stayed in Robbins with his father. His father had remarried, and Dwyane took a liking to his new home, new family, and new friends.
This new chapter in Dwyane Wade's life proved to be the most important. Of his new friends, one, Siohvaughn Funches, would later become his first and only serious girlfriend, and ultimately, his wife.
Siohvaughn was a year older than Dwyane, and when Dwyane reached high school, she noticed him immediately. They soon began dating, remained sweethearts through high school, and eventually would go to senior prom together.
Dwyane's senior year of high school was difficult. Although he was playing well enough to earn him seventh place in Illinois' Mr. Basketball voting, his father and stepmother were having marital problems. To make matters worse, Soihvaughn was away at Eastern Illinois completing her freshman year at college. Dwyane couldn't use the phone at his house, so the only time he could talk to Siohvaughn was at her mother, Darlene's, house. Amidst the turmoil at home, Dwyane eventually decided to move in with Darlene.
Another problem Dwyane was having was meeting the academic requirements necessary to play basketball in college. He was doing well at school, making the honor roll, but missed the required ACT score by 1 point. This kept many larger programs from seriously recruiting him, so Dwyane's choices were becoming more and more limited. Soihvaughn, Darlene, and Tragil were instrumental in his final choice- Marquette.
Dwyane had to sit out his freshman year at Marquette because of his academic standing, but still worked hard to improve in both basketball and academics. He was engaged to Siohvaughn during that year and the following summer, Dwyane went to Europe to work on his game. It was there he received the phone call- he was going to be a father. The prospect of having to provide as a father on limited resources was just another challenge Dwyane would have to overcome. Perhaps this was the inspiration he needed.
When finally given the opportunity to play during his sophomore year, he immediately made waves. In fact, his play was gaining him significant recognition. Meanwhile, Siohvaughn remained in school throughout her pregnancy, and on February 4th , 2002, gave birth to a baby boy, Zaire Blessing Dwyane Wade. They were married shortly thereafter. The following fall, Siohvaughn transferred to Marquette, and watched first-hand as Dwyane emerged as one of the elite players in the country. His play earned him AP All-American honors, Conference-USA Player of the Year, and C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. After his stunning performance in the NCAA tournament against Kentucky, in which he logged only the third triple-double in the tournament's storied history, Wade's stock soared. He was projected as a sure NBA draft lottery pick.
Although it was hard to leave his school, his team, his friends, his coaches- Dwyane decided to forego his senior year at Marquette and enter the NBA draft. The Miami Heat took him in the first round, going 5th overall.
Dwyane is now writing a new chapter in his life…