When you are in the spotlight as the son of an NBA legend, hate will follow. However, when you have the face of the NBA as a big brother and mentor, you will be publicly supported in astronomical ways.
The Salt Lake City Stars G League team selected Zaire Wade during the October G League draft. With the selection, the hate followed online, and others might not consider Wade’s ascension to be based on his talent.
The Big Homie
However, before Wade started his professional basketball journey, a family friend, LeBron James, doled out some advice to Dwyane Wade’s son; it revolved around a topic James knows well: dealing with the haters.
LeBron James couldn’t be more prouder for Zaire Wade after making it to the G-League! 💯 pic.twitter.com/q7JtubNQ9a
— ClutchPoints NBA (@ClutchPointsNBA) October 24, 2021
James took it to Instagram to share some encouraging words for Zaire. The Lakers leader has also heard all the hate that the youngster has been receiving over his G League draft selection, but LeBron wants him to block all the negativity and keep pushing.
“PROUD OF YOU NEPHEW!!! KEEP GOING AND F THE HATERS!! THEY AINT (excrement emoji) ANYWAYS”
Zaire Wade was selected No. 10 overall after a tumultuous high school career. With the announcement he has been receiving hate based on the perception of he’s benefited from nepotism and privilege.
— Kit Guinhawa (@BeatKit22) October 24, 2021
The Owner’s Box
Former Miami Heat superstar Dwayne Wade is a part-owner of the Utah Jazz. In 2020, tech billionaire Ryan Smith and his wife Ashley purchased a significant stake in the ownership of Utah Jazz for $1.66 billion. Wade agreed to join the team’s ownership group.
With the backdrop of the next generation of young players raised by legends beginning to establish themselves in the game, Wade and his son have now received heavy backlash as a result of the G League selection.
However, is Zaire Wade’s father’s connection to the Utah Jazz the only reason the team’s G League affiliate selected him?
According to reported high school sports rankings, Zaire Wade played high school basketball at Sierra Canyon in California and was a 3-star recruit. In addition, he was the No. 31 overall prospect in California, the No. 29 combo-guard in the class, and the No. 289 overall prospect.
— Overtime (@overtime) October 23, 2021
However, the combo guard decided to go pro and decline scholarship offers from Rhode Island, Toledo, DePaul, and South Carolina.
Wade was ranked in the top 150 of the 2020 class nationwide. But as the son of a three-time NBA champion, Wade had all the pressure of being a superstar’s son on his high school shoulders.
Wade joined Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, in April 2020. He was reclassified to the Class of 2021 after struggling to find playing time at Sierra Canyon. Dwyane Wade didn’t attend Zaire’s final game at Sierra Canyon in protest, as he was disgruntled with the school’s head coach.
Wade looked primed for a breakout senior season after his substantial fall-off with Sierra Canyon. Unfortunately, he tore a ligament in his right ankle and was forced to the sideline for a significant portion of the season.
Zaire was drafted into the G League, not the Utah Jazz. As a G League affiliate team member, Wade has a chance to prove his worth for the bigger league, but a precise nepotism play would have been to declare for the NBA draft and select Zaire for the Jazz.
Players cannot sign directly to a G League team before the draft; Wade’s son had to go through the draft process. Although Wade has influence, the team assuredly did what was best for its chances to win and also to sell tickets.
Zaire Wade and Bronny James, LeBron James’ older son, began making names for themselves in high school.
Woj in 20 years:
“Lebron James Jr has agreed to a 4 year 160 million dollar deal to join Zaire Wade on the Miami Heat” pic.twitter.com/bADZ2LdELo
— SGAWave (@SgaWave) July 22, 2019
Still, hot takes and speculation will always dog the career of an NBA superstar’s son. Luckily for Zaire, he has an “uncle” like LeBron James, who has perfected the hater-blocking position.
Shut up and dribble anyone?