Why Dwyane Wade Says He 'Never' Drinks In Front of His Kids
Despite owning a wine business, the NBA star was admittedly never a huge drinker.
Dwyane Wade‘s own childhood experiences influence how he parents his children, especially when it comes to alcohol.
Wade ventured into the wine business in 2012 when he launched his company Wade Cellars, which sells a red blend, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a rosé. However, the father of three biological sons, Zaire, 16, Zion, 11, and Xavier, 4, plus his nephew Dahveon Morris, 16, whom Wade is raising, was admittedly never a huge drinker. Because of his childhood, Wade says he didn’t have his first drink until he turned 28, and didn’t seriously become enthusiastic about alcohol until he turned 30.
“I guess I just stayed away from [drinking] for personal reasons,” Wade, 36, tells PEOPLE. “Just growing up and seeing the way that alcohol affected the ones that I love, I stayed away from it until I felt I was old enough — mature enough — to where I really understood that I really can enjoy alcohol and not turn out to be that way that I’ve seen.”
The Miami Heat point guard, who becomes a free agent in July, grew up in Chicago, and lived with his mom until he was nine years old. In previous interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Wade opened up about his upbringing in a gang-riddled environment and his mom’s struggle with alcohol and heroin addiction until she got clean in 2001, when Wade was 19.
When he was 9, Wade’s older sister dropped him off on his dad’s doorstep in Miami, and Wade credits his dad for both saving him from the Chicago streets and introducing him to the game of basketball.
“If I would have stayed living in Chicago, I would have been next in line to sell drugs and to join a gang,” Wade told Oprah in 2013. “Moving in with my dad at the age of 9 was probably the most important part of my life.”
Now when parenting his own children, the three-time national champion values his kids having positive male role models in their life.
During a special Father’s Day episode of his new YouTube series Wade’s Kitchen Convos titled “Sangria and Fatherhood,” Wade shares how numerous men impacted his life, such as basketball coaches, neighbors, and friends, alongside his own father. He also mentions how big of an impact his personal chef Richard Ingraham had on his own kids because they were able to have a man in the house when he was traveling.
“Chef is an important part of my life outside of just being my chef,” Wade tells PEOPLE. “He is like a brother. He is like a father figure.”
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As they’re making and tasting the sangria during the third episode using Wade Cellars’ flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, Wade turns to the camera and advises, “Don’t drink in front of your kids.”
“I never had drinks at home or anything like that because to your kids you’re Superman—you’re a hero,” Wade tells PEOPLE. “You’re perfect to your kids, so you kind of want to keep that whole Superman thing going.”
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Wade admits, though, that as his children continue to grow up, his parenting style continually adapts. On Thanksgiving, the NBA star shared a glass of wine with Zaire for the first time.
“As they get older, they get to have different kinds of conversations with you. They get to see, ‘Oh, you’re my dad, and you’re still Superman, but you are a regular person,'” Wade says. “[Alcohol] is definitely something I try to keep them away from when they’re young, but as they get older, you want them to know, ‘You can come and talk to me. I’ve experienced this.'”