Dwyane Wade’s return to Miami has put him at the forefront of a team fighting for a spot in the NBA playoffs, but the Heat veteran said he learned all he needed to know about leadership before he ever stepped foot on a college court.
Wade was interviewed by ESPN and told a story about how as a freshman at Marquette, then-coach Tom Crean put him on the spot at halftime to help motivate his team after it was struggling.
Questions from Crean were passed to Wade to answer, including one about an old car he had that kept getting broken into. The whole video is great, but at the 3:42 mark he retells a story where Wade had to call out his teammates even though he wasn’t playing at the time.
“It was my first year, I was sitting out, wasn’t playing. And it was a halftime of a game, our team was playing soft,” Wade said. “Coach came in and he was, he’d normally come in and he’d rip guys. So I’m waiting for the explosion and he came in and said ‘Dwyane stand up.’”
Wade said he wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but it was actually a chance for him to talk to his teammates and be critical.
I’m like, ‘For what?’ And he said ‘Go around and tell these guys how they’re playing.’ And I’m sitting there, and I’m a freshman. I’m not playing. I’m not out there with them guys, I’m not in the battle. And he’s putting me up there to tell these guys how they’re playing.
And I went in,” Wade said. “I said ‘You’re playing like this. You’re playing like this. On a scale of 1-10 you’re a 2. And I went in on them. And they went out there in the second half, they ended up coming back — I think we was down 21 and they ended up coming back. You saw the fight.”
After the game, Wade said he made sure his teammates knew he appreciated the renewed effort on the floor.
“I went in and embraced guys that I went at. You know? And I told them how proud I was of them,” Wade said. “So I think in that moment, for me, that’s when I learned what it was like to stand up there and take responsibility. Not only to call a guy out, but to hug a guy and be able to celebrate their success as well as being on them when they’re not doing well.”
Wade credited Crean for giving him a chance to grow, but also for knowing that kind of tactic would work for his team in the present but also the future of the program.
“I grew at that moment,” he said. “I knew for that team, for Marquette to be successful, coach was building something in me before I ever stepped on the court. And I needed it.”