Dwyane Wade: Competition Fueled Fashion in the NBA

Dwyane Wade Chicago Bulls
Dwyane Wade of the Chicago Bulls.
REX Shutterstock

Dwyane Wade is making the most of his NBA offseason, working to further bolster his presence as a style icon.

The basketball star teamed with Amazon Fashion to unveil his latest capsule collections, boasting more than 100 men’s offerings. The capsule includes his sock line with Stance and selections from his Way of Wade sneaker brand, a subsidiary of China-based athletic standout Li-Ning.

To unveil the lineup — which is available now via amazon.com/dwyanewade — the Chicago Bulls guard, along with his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, and Amazon Fashion execs, hosted a dinner Wednesday at acclaimed restaurant The Flower Shop, located in New York City’s Lower East Side neighborhood.

Gabrielle Union Dwyane Wade Gabrielle Union with husband Dwyane Wade in NYC. Amazon

At the event, Wade explained to Footwear News how fashion became prevalent in the league.

“As athletes, what we did was make it competitive among each other. Everybody wanted the walk into the arena to be their runway because they were talking about our outfits on TV,” said Wade. “It became a different kind of competition before the game.”

Wade noted that he believes ballers became fashion obsessed roughly 10 years ago, around the time when then NBA commissioner David Stern instituted a league-wide dress code.

While viewed as a fashionable athlete now, taking style risks wasn’t something Wade was always accustomed to.

“I can’t say when I was young I was into fashion, [but] I was into dressing nice, looking nice, feeling nice,” Wade said. “As I started getting older and stopped caring about what people said about me, I started feeling comfortable and started getting into the fashion space more.”

Dwyane Wade Way of Wade All City 5 Dwyane Wade in the Way of Wade “All City 5.” REX Shutterstock

With a legacy on the court as an all-time great solidified, the Chicago native now hopes to earn his stripes for his fashion acumen — particularly with his Way of Wade sneakers.

“I was with Converse for a while, [then] I decided to go to Jordan Brand,” Wade said. “After that I decided I want to do something for myself, I want to build a business and a brand. With Li-Ning, I had the opportunity to build something.”

Since partnering with the China athletic outfit, Wade has signed basketball standouts such as Udonis Haslem and Terrence Ross, and introduced several signature shoes.

Wade has one year left on his contract with the Bulls and has not eluded to retiring any time soon, but confirmed that after he walks away from the game he will continue to deliver shoes bearing his name. And he wants to employ a plan for post-career sneaker releases similar to that of another NBA great: Michael Jordan.

“When I decided to leave Jordan Brand and go to Li-Ning, that was the vision at the time, to have similar blueprint that’s been laid out by Jordan,” he said. “I want to do the same thing. I’m just doing it in China.”

Several Way of Wade sneakers, including numerous colorways of his latest WoW 5 look, are available via Amazon Fashion now, which retail for $160.

Way of Wade WoW 5 Birthday

Way of Wade WoW 5 “Birthday,” $160; amazon.com/dwyanewade