Dwyane Wade had a successful career winning three championships with the Miami Heat before hanging his boot. But before he stepped off the court, he made connections with players, bonds that cannot be easily broken.
Everyone knows how close Wade and LeBron James are following their championship runs. But he developed a relationship with Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and has been a mentor to him ever since.
Wade just released a photography memoir titled Dwyane, where he put together images of him on and off the court throughout his playing days. In a chat with Slam, he was asked about his relationship with Donovan Mitchell because he was worthy enough to feature in the memoir, and Wade had this to say:
"We’ve had, since he came into the NBA, a pretty good relationship. He was one of those young guys who reached out and wanted more knowledge…We have similar attributes in our game, so we just kind of connected from there. I’ve always been an open book, not only to Donovan but to any player in the NBA."
Dwyane has an ownership stake with the Jazz, which many believe the franchise brought him in because of his relationship with Mitchell. While the three-time NBA champ is concerned about Mitchell's long-term commitment, he does not want the pressure of keeping Mitchell in Jazz.
"Well, I hope they don’t put that pressure on me. I can’t keep Donovan happy. What’s going to keep Donovan happy is the players that we able to put around and how much that we able to continue to help him reach the levels that he wants to go to. … It’s all about communication.”
The Jazz are yet to win their first-ever NBA title, and Mitchell could play a key part in getting them all the way. When asked about the advice he gives to Mitchell, Wade said:
"Make sure that your effort every day is championship quality efforts. Make sure you carry yourself as a champion so that when you become one when you get that opportunity, it’s not foreign to you. You know how to act, you know how to do it, you know how to respond to it."
The Utah Jazz finished the 2020-21 NBA season as the top seed in the West but gave up a 2-0 series lead in the conference semi-finals to the Los Angeles Clippers. Mitchell believes they would have won the title if not for injuries. They have started the new season on a bright note with a 14-7 record, and Mitchell is leading the scoring with 23.2 points per game. Added to that are 4.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game.