Zion's birthday falls in late May, right in the middle of his father's busiest work season, and this year Wade threw his "mini me" a Lion King--themed party before heading off to face the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals that night. In September he will release his first book, A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball, whose title echoes his Twitter bio: "I'm a father First and everything else after that. ..."
"My father stepped in when I needed him, and that gave me the chance for a better life," Wade wrote in Newsweek in June 2011. "That's what I'm doing for my boys now."
HERE'S THE FACTOR, MORE than any other, that may drive Dwyane Wade: He likes difficulty. Ease makes him anxious. Perfect makes him squirm. "To me, it's the bad moments that make a person," he says. "You're going to fall. It's how you get up that defines you as a man."
So pin his team like a bug under a magnifying glass, scrutinize every loss. After what he has been through in his personal life? He dares you to doubt him. The Heat's haters were all too happy to pile on during Miami's rough patches, especially while Wade was struggling to figure out how to play on a team for which, with James around, he was no longer the primary playmaker.
Playing off the ball for the first time in his career, Wade made the necessary adjustments, running around screens, reviving his midrange game, becoming more efficient and—thanks in large part to settling into a productive dish-and-finish tandem with James—burnishing his reputation as one of the best closers in the league.
"Anybody can be great in life when things are going good," Wade said in 2006. "What about when things are going bad? This is what I like, because this is how I'll know what kind of team I have. This is how I know what kind of player I am. How are we going to find a way to overcome this? That's going to decide whether we're a championship team and whether I'm a good player or great. I love it. It's my life."