Two nights ago, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat won the first game of their professional basketball final series, hoping to repeat as champions for the second time in franchise history.
Owing to a turbulent and often uncertain past year, Wade perhaps relishes the upswing like no other player. “It has been a very long year,” he noted last week. “A very, very long year.”
And, most centrally, a year marked by extreme swings in circumstances, most importantly the uptick in Wade’s own emotional well-being following a lengthy child custody battle with his ex-wife that played out prominently in media headlines and stories for many months.
Wade was eventually awarded full custody of his two sons. “When it was all over, and he was fortunate enough to get custody of his kids,” says teammate and close friend Udonis Haslem, “I saw a light just shining around him.”
The custody dispute played out in a Chicago court last autumn, after Wade filed a petition challenging his former spouse’s custody award, arguing that she was routinely interfering with the visitation schedule arranged for him and his sons.
Ultimately, the court deemed that awarding Wade full custody was in the best interests of the couple’s children. Many of the claims levied against Wade by his ex-wife — including her claim that he had a sexually transmitted disease and that he had physically abused her and the two boys — were later proved false and withdrawn, with Wade submitting evidence that he had actually endured physical abuse in the marriage.
It is now all behind him, and Wade relishes the future. “At the end of the day, my concern is for my kids,” he says, adding that he wants his ex-wife to continue to be an active participant in their lives.
Related Resource: Washington Post, “The ups-and-downs of the last 12 months for Dwyane Wade have led him back to the NBA finals” May 28, 2011