NBA legend Dwyane Wade joined former NFL star Brandon Marshall’s I AM ATHLETE (IAA) podcast and gave his answer to the much-debated question of whether Michael Jordan or Wade’s friend LeBron James, was the NBA’s GOAT, in the episode that debuts today, Monday, March 22 at 12 p.m. ET
“I come from the Jordan era, so I’m biased,” said the 13-time All-Star Wade. “Jordan will always be my GOAT. I played basketball because of Michael Jordan. All of us have our own individual opinions. LeBron is going to be the GOAT for a lot of generations. Jordan is just my GOAT. I made it out of the hood because I saw Jordan play at a level where I said, I want to do some of that.”
Along with former NFL stars Channing Crowder and “Unc” Fred Taylor, plus special guest co-host Ryan Clark, the crew pushed Wade on the topic, with Marshall asking how that sentiment affects his and James’ friendship.
“I see you on TNT pregame and you’re saying this about Jordan whenever the conversation comes up,” said Marshall. “Is it ever awkward with LeBron? I mean you guys were on the banana boat together.”
“LeBron is one of my good friends,” responded Wade. “I have so much respect for what he’s doing now, what he’s done and what he will eventually do. It will definitely be an argument that needs to be had. If LeBron ends up the all-time leader in points, top five in assists and rebounds, with four, five or six championships, you have to at least have the conversation. But it’s hard to really have the conversation while he’s still putting on that jersey. When he’s done, his statistical line is going to be the greatest we’ve ever seen.”
The episode also goes deep on Wade’s personal life and fatherhood. Wade and the crew talk about how he managed blending his children from a previous relationship with his wife, Gabrielle Union, and also how he has become a role model for his public support of his daughter Zaya’s journey in coming out as transgender.
“I don’t care what my kids become, all I want for them is to be happy in life and be themselves in the process of life,” said Wade. “Whoever you are or whoever you’re going to be, it’s my job to facilitate those things and help you succeed in those things. I have to understand where they’re coming from and educate myself. I come from a different school, but this isn’t the only school in town.
“Everything I was taught before went out the window. My sole responsibility was making sure this child is loved. I started changing the way I talked, changed the way I listened and I started challenging people on different things.”
During the conversation, Marshall highlighted the importance of not only Wade’s acceptance of his daughter but his outspokenness on the subject as an example for the black community.
“We’ve seen people lose their lives and take their own lives,” said Marshall. “And all because they felt uncomfortable with coming to a parent and being open about who they are. There are so many fathers in our community who don’t show that unconditional love.”
Crowder takes this opportunity to ask Wade what advice he would give to parents who are in a situation similar to his and the mindset needed to progress on this subject.
“We grew up in a certain era and things were a certain way,” said Wade. “Life evolves and people evolve. We’re in an era now where people are more confident coming out and expressing who they are. Ultimately, when it comes to my child, I’m willing to die for mine. If you want to hurt mine, come and talk to me first. Because my child has the right to be whoever they want to be in this life. I don’t care who or what they want to do.
“When I saw an eight-year-old have the confidence to tell me who they were, there was nothing else I could do but support that, because I know how hard it is. It’s hard even as a 39-year-old man to tell the world what you really feel. I said thank you to my child for leading the way, and now we’ll take it from here, because of the platform and voice that I have.”
The wide-ranging interview also sees Wade talk about his favorite teammates and the process that led to him leaving the Miami Heat in free agency in 2016.
To close out the episode, Wade answer’s Marshall’s question about who the three-time NBA champion would like to see in his seat as the next guest on IAA.
“I think Charles Barkley needs to sit in this seat next,” said Wade. “I’ve spent a lot of time with him and he’s a phenomenal human being. There’s a misconception of him that he’s a hater. And I know that the older NBA guys come off that way.”
Charles Barkley: "Any media person I see for the rest of my life who try to tell me LeBron James is as good as Michael Jordan, I'm just going to slap the hell out of them right on the spot."pic.twitter.com/VSelsJQWGI
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeague) June 9, 2018
“When you sit down and talk to a person like Charles, you realize he’s more than what he comes off as in those 15 minutes at halftime. He’s going to educate everyone on a lot of things.”
“Most importantly, Charles is a real dude, and real dudes watch this podcast. This is a podcast that real dudes watch.”