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There’s not much Dwyane Wade regrets from his legendary NBA career. The former Miami Heat star and soon-to-be Hall of Famer won three championships, made 13 All-Star appearances, and established himself as one of the all-time great shooting guards in NBA history. Oh, and he earned nearly $200 million along the way.

But Wade still holds one financial regret from his 17 years in the NBA, and he says he would be a whole lot richer today had he avoided the foolish mistake from his rookie season with the Heat.

Dwyane Wade earned $196 million in the NBA

Dwyane Wade is worth $170 million today, but that number could be much higher if he had been smarter with his money as an NBA rookie.
Former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade walks onto the court during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018 | B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images

D Wade isn’t just one of the greatest basketball players to ever live. He’s also one of the richest. During his 17-year career in the NBA, Wade earned more than $196 million from playing contracts alone. That figure doesn’t even include his endorsements and various other off-the-court earnings.

After he was drafted fifth overall by the Heat in 2003, Wade became an instant millionaire by signing a four-year, $12.3 million deal. But as is true for many professional athletes, he was a bit reckless with his spending once the money first started rolling in.

Wade’s biggest financial regret from his NBA career

In the span of just a few months, Wade went from a broke college kid to a millionaire athlete. He earned $2.6 million from his rookie contract in 2003 alone. Now, Wade had never seen that kind of money before, so he didn’t exactly go about spending and saving it the right way. The 39-year-old spoke to Men’s Health in 2020 about his foolish financial habits as a rookie.

“Early in my career, I didn’t have a financial advisor,” Wade said. “I didn’t trust anybody, I didn’t know anybody. So I was kinda just doing it on my own, and I had this plan. I’m like ‘OK, if I can save $1 million out of this $2.6 million that I’m making, that’d be good.’ And I think I ended up saving… none. I spent all of it. I went through it. My family had needs.”

Wade said he still regrets not seeking financial advice sooner in his career.

“I regret not having someone early in my career to help teach me about all of this money,” Wade continued. “I went from making $200 in college to becoming a millionaire overnight, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I was sending my credit card to people like, ‘Hey, can I get that Bentley?’ I never really reached out to someone and said, ‘Hey, do you think I should get this right now? Do you think I should purchase this house right now?’ I just kinda did it all on my own, and that is not smart people.”

Wade “would be a lot richer today” had he been smarter with his money

Wade’s rookie year taught him a harsh lesson about money management. So, he eventually hired a financial advisor and started being smarter about his spending, but he just wishes he had done so sooner.

“Have somebody that’s smarter than you that can help you with your money,” Wade said. “I wish I would’ve learned early on how to spend my money correctly. I would be a lot richer today.”

Because Wade didn’t save or invest any of the $2.6 million he earned as a rookie, it cost him millions of dollars down the road. But with a current net worth of $170 million, it’s hard for Wade to complain today.