HOLLYWOOD (AP) — Tom Crean still cannot forget the vehicle that Dwyane Wade was driving a decade ago.
It was Wade’s final season at Marquette, where Crean was coaching at the time. Wade had moved off-campus after getting married and having his first son. And his vehicle got broken into three times during that Final Four season. Making it road-worthy again would have cost $900. The car was worth only $700 at the time.
The repairs never got made.
Wade waited until after the semester to get that new car, a blue Cadillac Escalade.
“The moral to the story is the guy never got away from what his priorities were,” said Crean, now the coach at Indiana but still a close mentor to Wade. “
“It would have been so easy for him to leave school and get the things he needed. He could have gotten away from his academics because he was leaving for the NBA.”
Fast forward to last Friday, when Wade’s third annual fantasy camp was getting going in earnest at a posh hotel in South Florida, with a slew of Escalades parked in a long line just outside the front doors. The 10th anniversary of Wade’s signing his first contract with the Miami Heat – a $7 million, three-year deal – was Monday and the now three-time NBA champion still cannot believe how much his world has changed over this last decade.
“I remember just staring at my first check for a whole day,” Wade said. “It was more than I think my father made in like five years, combined.”
It would have been impossible to imagine at the time but, deep-pocketed guys think nothing of spending $10,500 to be like Wade for a weekend. They get his Li Ning sneakers, plenty of gear and the experience of playing alongside celebrities like comic Kevin Hart and for some of Wade’s closest allies, including Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Crean, Wade’s longtime trainer.