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A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball Hardcover – September 4, 2012

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The Art of Memoir
"The Art of Memoir" by Mary Karr
As Mary breaks down the key elements of great literary memoir, she breaks open our concepts of memory and identity, and illuminates the cathartic power of reflecting on the past; anybody with an inner life or complicated history, whether writer or reader, will relate. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Dwyane Wade, the eight-time All-Star for the Miami Heat, has miraculously defied the odds throughout his career and his life. In 2006, in just his third season in the NBA, Dwyane was named the Finals' MVP, after leading the Miami Heat to the Championship title, basketball's ultimate prize. Two years later, after possible career-ending injuries, he again rose from the ashes of doubt to help win a gold medal for the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As co-captain, he helped lead the Heat to triumph in the 2012 NBA Championship. Little wonder that legendary coach Pat Riley has called Dwyane "B.I.W."—Best In the World.

As incredible as those achievements have been, it's off the court where Dwyane has sought his most cherished goal: being a good dad to his sons, Zaire and Zion, by playing a meaningful role in their lives. Recounting his fatherhood journey, Dwyane begins his story in March 2011 with the news that after a long, bitter custody battle, he has been awarded sole custody of his sons in a virtually unprecedented court decision. A Father First chronicles the lessons Dwyane has learned as a single dad from the moment of the judge's ruling that instantly changed his life and the lives of his boys, and then back to the events in the past that shaped his dreams, prayers, and promises.

As the son of divorced parents determined to get along so that he and his sister Tragil could have loving relationships with both of them, Dwyane's early years were spent on Chicago's South Side. With poverty, violence, and drugs consuming the streets and their mom descending into addiction, Tragil made the heroic decision to take her younger brother to live with their father. After moving his household to suburban Robbins, Illinois, Dwyane Wade Sr. became Dwyane's first basketball coach. While this period laid the groundwork for Dwyane's later mission for fathers to take greater responsibility for their kids, he was also inspired by his mother's miraculous victory over addiction and her gift for healing others. Both his mother and his father showed him that the unconditional love between parents and children is a powerful guiding force.

In A Father First, we meet the coaches, mentors, and teammates who played pivotal roles in Dwyane's stunning basketball career—from his early days shooting hoops on the neighborhood courts in Chicago, to his rising stardom at Marquette University in Milwaukee, to his emergence as an unheralded draft pick by the Miami Heat. This book is a revealing, personal story of one of America's top athletes, but it is also a call to action—from a man who had to fight to be in his children's lives—that will show mothers and fathers how to step up and be parents themselves.

About the Author

Dwyane Wade is a guard for the Miami Heat whose Wade's World Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to benefit children and families across America. President Obama recently appointed him to help lead a program geared toward encouraging fathers to become more involved in their children's lives. He lives in Miami, Florida.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062136151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062136152
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dwyane Wade is a guard for the Miami Heat and was recently appointed by President Obama to lead a new parenting program geared toward encouraging fathers to become more involved in their children's lives. He lives in Miami, Florida. Visit his website at www.dwyanewade.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine Ahearn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Dwyane Wade, a guard for the Miami Heat, an eight-time All-Star, a Champ in Basketball and a legend in the NBA delivers a touching memoir of his life and achievements in his career and his personal life. He begins his story about life off the basketball court, where he seeks his most cherished goal, to be a good father to his two sons, and tells about his challenges as a single dad. In 2011, Dwyane was awarded full custody of Zaire and Zion and from that moment in court until today, he portrays life as a father with all the lessons he learned as his life changed instantly, and the lives of his sons. The author's relationship with his children helped to shape his life, his dreams, and his prayers were answered. The promises he made to himself about being the best father he could be is what encouraged him to reach for the stars in his love for Basketball as he climbed the golden ladder to success. His achievements throughout his career were incredible, along with his motivation and spirit to help win a Gold Medal for the U.S. in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, also named the Finals 'MVP.' A remarkable story that tugs at the heart. Captivating, inspiring, and enjoyable. Highly Recommended to all those who enjoy inspirational and motivating stories, stories for sports lovers, and stories about parenting!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just about every true basketball fan knows who Dwyane Wade is... former All-American at Marquette University... All-Star guard and two-time World Champion with the Miami Heat... former NBA scoring champion... innumerable team records... and many accomplishments that have only been matched or exceeded by such legends as Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain. Flying... soaring... posterizing dunks and blocks. All true... but after reading this book you'll find that he's rightfully just... if not more proud... of what he has accomplished off the court... as a son... a grandson... and with sooo much pride... what he's become as a Father.

I pride myself in giving true accurate reviews... so when I tell you as a lifetime basketball player and crazed fan... this is not your normal basketball biography... you can take that to the bank. If all you're looking for is basketball stats... basketball stories... and the now standard glamorous "rich and famous" lifestyle of the over abundance of pro ballplayers... many not deserved at all... you will come away disappointed... if that's why you're considering buying this book. But... if you want to take an emotional trip through the life of a young boy growing up in a rough neighborhood... who despite his parents divorcing... they made sure that their children always realized how much the other parent loved them... this is your book. Even when one parent... Dwyane's Mom was not only an alcoholic drug addict and involved in the sale of drugs... but she was jailed many, many, times. And I'm talking about "hard-time"! One time Dwyane's Mom... Jolinda Morris Wade went on the lam while on parole... for FOUR YEARS NINE MONTHS, AND SIX DAYS. What an utterly emotional situation when Jolinda turned herself in.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD HALL OF FAME on September 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Dwyane Wade is not only one of the Greatest Basketball Players Ever, he is also a true survivior of life dealing with so many issues on and off the court and he has always been a winner. this book details a rough upbringing in the Windy city of Chicago and this Man has been doubted so many times and counted out, however he has truly been blessed and came back stronger each and every time. divorce is a ugly subject and very painful and he goes in on it directly here about the sad events of his personal life. this is the kind of book for not only father's day, but for every day if you are a parent and have had to overcome obstacles. a must read.

D Wade is a tough dude and he is blessed.
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Format: Paperback
It seems D.Wade "tells it like it was" when he details growing up in Chicago in a family that was split because. among other things, his mother's addiction to drugs. Both parents were absent from the home for most of his youth. He had a praying grandmother and an older sister who loved him dearly and tried to shield him from the pitfalls of the neighborhood. It was while his mom was incarcerated that Dwyane lived with his dad and his stepmother. He was of average height during his early teens, but grew 4 inches over one summer, making him 6' 2". He eventually added another two inches.

It was when Wade went to live with his father that his interest in basketball accelerated. He was in the company of his step brothers which included Demetrius McDaniel, a standout basketball player at Richards High School; Demetrius was two years older than Wade. In Demetrius' senior year at Richards, the team was 28-2. The coach at Richards lamented to Dwyane Wade, Sr that he didn't know what he would do now that Demetrius was graduating. Dwyane, Sr. replied that he should not worry, Dwyane was a good basketball player also.

He married his high school sweetheart and became a father when he was barely out of the teens. He tried to keep the marriage together, even to the extent of having another child. This didn't fix the marriage. He is kind to the boys' mother in the book, but after the divorce, she was intent upon denying him access to the boys. The story of how he struggled to see the boys and how he was eventually awarded sole custody is interesting.

A great basketball story! He gives a lot of credit to his high school coaches who helped him navigate the scholarship application process and to the coach at Marquette who accepted him although his ACT scores were not high enough.
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