NBA

Dwyane Wade’s Gambling Once Got So Bad His Financial Advisor Tried To Intervene

Over the course of 16 seasons in the NBA, Dwyane Wade established himself as one of the greatest shooting guards of all time. He wrapped up his playing career with averages of 22.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. He also won three NBA championships with the Miami Heat, two of them alongside fellow superstar LeBron James.

Wade has undoubtedly enjoyed the fruits of his labor, indulging in all of the fancy vacations and expensive wine suitable to his massive income. Yet for a period of time, Wade also struggled through serious financial problems related to gambling. Here we take a look back at Wade’s career earnings, his struggle with gambling, and his post-retirement career moves.

Dwyane Wade’s earnings as a player

Wade spent almost all of his career playing for the Miami Heat, and made a significant amount of money in the process. Yet most pundits agree that Wade still netted far less than he might have as a superstar player.

Most notably, Wade took a series of pay cuts during the “Big Three” era, in order to help the team manage the salaries of fellow-stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Nonetheless, when all was said and done, Wade walked away from the NBA having pulled down over $196 million in contracts according to SpotRac. Of course, that was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to his overall income. Wade also took home huge amounts of money through endorsement deals with companies like Gatorade, Lincoln, and T-Mobile.

For instance, in 2018 Wade had an NBA-related salary of $17.8 million. On top of that, he made $14 million in endorsements according to Forbes. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Wade has a massive net worth of around $170 million. Smart financial planning played a large role in holding onto that wealth, as did Wade’s decision to give up a costly bad habit.

An intervention from Dwyane Wade’s financial advisor

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According to Wade himself in a video with Men’s Health, he struggled with gambling for a number of years — yet probably not in the way you imagine. Unlike a lot of his peers, he never enjoyed going to casinos to gamble. Yet he did frequently indulge a sports “rite of passage”: playing cards while traveling from city to city on the team plane.

Those seemingly casual card games with his teammates cost Wade a lot of money over the years. At one point, he was even losing so much money that his financial adviser called him up to ask if he had a problem they needed to talk about.

Looking back, Wade is glad to be done with that period of his life.

Post-retirement career moves

Dwyane Wade looking unhappy during an NBA game
An unhappy Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat after getting a foul called against him | Robert Duyos/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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Transitioning away from basketball to a new phase of life presents difficulties for a lot of players. Wade is no different in that regard. Yet unlike other former players in his position, Wade has attacked the question of his post-playing career with vigor. For one thing, he has embraced his role as a public figure, speaking out on a variety of social justice topics.

He’s also begun moving into the world of sports broadcasting, appearing as a commentator on numerous high-profile games. During the 2019-20 season, he has served as a panelist for NBA on TNT. In addition, Wade has begun to flex his muscles as a producer himself, signing a development deal with Warner Media to develop new content.

Those new positions mean that Wade continues to earn a significant amount of income despite having hung up his playing shoes for good. Meanwhile, he’s also still pulling down nearly $20 million per year in endorsement deals. His single most lucrative deal is with the Chinese sports brand Li-Ning, which pays him a cool $12 million per year.

All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference