Dwyane Wade on Retirement, Business and the NBA Hall of Fame | Entrepreneur

At 6 a.m. in Malibu, you might find Dwyane Wade alone on the beach, waiting for the sun to rise and contemplating the future. After all, the 13-time NBA All-Star, who retired in 2019, deserves to put his toes in the sand. But for Wade, 41, spending time at the beach is all about business.

“I feel like the self-care, the solitude, is so important before I give energy to the world, before I give it to my kids, before I give it to the workforce, I have to take care of me,” Wade tells Entrepreneur. “That’s where my morning starts. It starts by being selfish. But I have to get out of bed early to do that.”

On Saturday, Wade will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., for a multitude of career accomplishments, including winning three NBA Championships and an Olympic Gold Medal. The ceremony closes a big life chapter. Although he’ll still be involved with the game through his ownership stakes in the Chicago Sky, Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake, Wade is now trading basketball for business.

“Entrepreneurship has always been embedded in me from my parents,” Wade says. “I watch my mom and dad today, they’re still entrepreneurs. They are always creating something new. That’s the spirit I grew up with, and now I’ve had the opportunity to tap into that world.”

So far, Wade has launched a slew of brands, including his wine company, Wade Cellars, a sustainable baby care company, Proudly, with his wife, actor and producer Gabrielle Union, and 59th & Prairie Entertainment, which is named after his home city of Chicago. Although he says there are many similarities between professional sports and business, there has also been a lot to get used to.

“Basketball is immediate satisfaction,” Wade says. “The ball goes through the basket, everybody cheers. Instant satisfaction. In business, you can wait 10 years before you get that satisfaction, it can be 10 years before I have a win in business.”

The wins also feel different as an entrepreneur, he says.

“I get a win now, it’s on an email.”

His wine company, Wade Cellars, which launched around 2014, is now seeing growth after almost a decade. In the past four years, it went from selling 1,000 cases annually to 12,000 projected for 2023. Distribution grew from four markets in 2019 to 42 this year, including the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, and China, per Wade’s reps.

“I’ve been in my wine brand now nine years, and people are just now hearing about it,” he says. “You have to have patience. Patience is probably the biggest thing. I thought I was very patient as an athlete, but I’ve had to tap into even more patience in my entrepreneur life because it doesn’t happen overnight.”

As a professional NBA player, Wade was prepared, practiced and always had a plan. With the ball in his hands, he knew what to do; he could control the floor and anticipate his teammates’ moves. In business, it’s still all about a team, but there’s no shot clock. No end time. The lights don’t shut off unless you turn them off (or you don’t pay your bills). Wade says even without the rigid schedule of an NBA season, he’s still “very structured” in his life and plans out his days, which helps with business and managing money.

“I didn’t do that for a big part of my life. I didn’t do that in my finances when I first got money,” Wade says. “I didn’t know how to do those things. Now I know how to do those things. It’s about being able to set a plan for yourself.”

According to Spotrac, Wade earned almost $200 million in NBA contracts during his 16-year career (14 spent with the Miami Heat down in “Wade” County, Florida). Forbes estimates he has earned around $14 million in endorsements. Still, it hasn’t been all championships.

Former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade during a ceremony to retire his jersey at halftime as the Heat play host to the Cleveland Cavaliers at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Feb. 22, 2020. Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service | Getty Images

Although the National Restaurant Association estimates one in three restaurants won’t survive its first year in business, Wade began investing in food while he was still playing basketball. In 2008, D. Wade’s Sports Grills closed its two South Florida locations. Wade’s restaurant with former NBA teammate Udonis Haslem, 800° Woodfired Kitchen in Aventura, Florida, shut down in 2022.

“I took a lot of Ls, and there’s going to be more in my future,” he says. “You have to learn how to be as graceful in losing as you are in winning. You have to be able to learn from losing to be able to apply it, so you can lose less. I think a lot of times, we are afraid of the losses. So sometimes it makes us not do things because of [fear of] failure. [But] don’t have that mentality.”

“You actually need to fall, you actually need to learn lessons. It’s the same thing when it comes to entrepreneurship, take the chances, but don’t feel like you have to hit a home run right away.”

Wade says he’s applying the lessons learned on the court in his businesses, such as being a leader and a good teammate at the same time.

“From Magic [Johnson], I learned a lot about building a team, and even if you build a team, it is only going to go as far as the leader can take it. I learned that I had to be forward-thinking, I had to take chances. Sometimes, if you think it might not be a good idea, you have to go for it anyway.”

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As Wade eases into this new chapter of entrepreneurship, he says he’ll keep scheduling and keep planning. But he’s still going to keep his toes in the sand.

Dwyane Wade’s morning routine:

D-Wade on staying motivated:

Wade says he’s pretty “self-motivated,” but that doesn’t mean he’s opposed to getting an extra boost from sticking a “good advice” quote to a mirror. Two of his recent faves are classics from Maya Angelou (“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”), and one attributed to Benjamin Franklin (“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”).

What he’s listening to:

“The last podcast I listened to was a good one called Acquired: Every Company Has a Story. It covers these big companies like LVMH, Nike, these huge brands, and breaks down how they got to where they are today.”