Standing before hundreds of children at his basketball camp Wednesday, Dwyane Wade got plenty of tough questions. About playing with LeBron James this past season with the Miami Heat and their trip to the NBA finals. About his actress girlfriend, Gabriell
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Standing before hundreds of children at his basketball camp Wednesday, Dwyane Wade got plenty of tough questions. About playing with LeBron James this past season with the Miami Heat and their trip to the NBA finals. About his actress girlfriend, Gabrielle Union. About what it takes to be a great basketball player.
One noticeably absent topic? The NBA lockout.
"No lockout questions at all," Wade said afterward. "I think it’s sensitive to them. They’re staying away from it."
Those kids may be the only ones staying away from the NBA’s latest chapter.
Taking a break from working with the kids at his camp, Wade spoke on a number of topics Wednesday, including the camp, his travel plans for the remainder of the summer, whether or not he’ll try to be part of the U.S. team at the 2012 London Olympics — and, of course, the work stoppage that threatens the next NBA season, with players and owners billions of dollars away from agreeing on a new labor deal.
"I don’t miss it yet," Wade said of his inability to work out at 601 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, the address of the arena that the Heat call home. "I’m only a month away from the game. I’m cool. I’ve got two more weeks to relax before I get back into it. But when the time gets to where we’re still going, I will miss it and most importantly I think everybody will miss it because you’re used to getting into a rhythm, used to getting into a schedule. And when that schedule is starting off, everything is off."
Still, a month removed from losing in six games to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals, Wade is a long way from forgetting the pain of coming up short with a title at stake.
He’s been busy since: A European trip has already been completed, as has a camp he co-hosted with NFL star Devin Hester in Chicago and a commercial shoot in Los Angeles, all preceding his annual camp at Nova Southeastern University — which added a twist this year, a cheerleader camp led by Katina Taylor, the wife of NFL defensive end Jason Taylor.
And soon, Wade will head back to China for the first time since the U.S. won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. Much of that trip will be built around Wade’s work with Nike’s Jordan Brand, although he has several other business meetings lined up there as well.
"I’m excited to come back over there and just enjoy China," Wade said. "I want to go different places over there. I told Brand Jordan I wanted to go to see where the magic happens, where are the sneakers made, the people that make the sneakers. I want to go meet those people. I’ve got a lot of things I want to accomplish this summer and I’ve got a lot of time to do that."
Other topics Wade touched on Wednesday:
— Regarding losing the NBA finals. "The sting is there, no question about it. I joke with the kids, I say, ‘All right, I’m going to make jokes about it, and you guys aren’t going to ask me questions.’ Because when they ask questions, they want to know some stuff. So I make sure I shed some light on it in a sense of humor type of way. But the sting’s there. But you’ve got to move on."
— Regarding the perception of Miami’s season as a disappointment. "We understand that it was a failure, that it was a failure not just for the Miami Heat, it was a failure for every team that didn’t win except for the Dallas Mavericks. They were the champions, so they had the best year. Everyone else failed — they didn’t win a championship. But the things that we did, they don’t just erase."
— Regarding what he hopes to build for a legacy with kids through his camps and other interaction. "I always feel like I’m on this Earth for a purpose, for a reason, just to leave my mark, leave the world a better place. And just use basketball to do it. If I can leave my mark on the world in that way, as I do with my foundation, with our youth, then I’ll feel like I did my job. So when I get 60, 70, 80 years old, I can sit back and be happy with what I’ve done."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
(AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Joe Rimkus Jr.)