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Nearly 80 Percent of Ex-Pro Athletes Go Broke Three Years into Retirement: How Former Miami Heat Star Dwyane Wade Is Making Sure He Holds Onto His Fortune

Former Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade may have admitted in 2020 that he was worried he’d lose his $170 million fortune. But since retiring from the NBA in 2019, Wade has been busy trying to add to his wealth.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 07: Dwyane Wade speaks onstage at the TIME100 Summit 2022 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on June 7, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)

Throughout his 16 years in the league, he earned more than $120 million. He signed a multi-year deal with Warner Media and released a sneaker line with Rick Ross. He also founded a sock line in 2013 called PKWY. And, Wade was appointed Hisense’s first brand ambassador and has a contract with Chinese sneaker company Li-Ning. 

In April 2021, he became a minority owner of the Utah Jazz after buying a stake in the team. According to Wade, he wants to inspire more Black basketball players to enter the ownership ranks.

“I feel it’s very important as a recent retired player to continue that for our players, young guys to see that the game is not just about basketball,” he said, speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in 2021. “It’s not just about how many points you score throughout the week, and so I want to be a visual image for the next generation that’s coming up, is playing the game of basketball right now, and understands that this game ends at a very early age in your life, and there’s so much more to do.”

But his endorsements and new ventures as a host on the TBS game show “The Cube” haven’t quelled his fears about money. 

“I’m always about I don’t want to be uncomfortable in terms of what’s in my bank account,” Wade told Yahoo Finance two years ago. “So please don’t buy this. There are times when I’m like, huh, that’s what I’ve got in the bank, OK. But I still have that mentality of not having enough money.”

Wade also told Yahoo Finance he was worried about his financial security, given that he no longer received a fixed salary from the NBA. At the end of the 2018-2019 season, he retired. 

Wade’s fears aren’t unfounded. A whopping 78 percent of former professional athletes will go broke after just three years of retirement, Craig Brown, an NKSFB Sports Business Division partner, told Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria” earlier this year. 

“You oftentimes see these professional athletes looking to help out family members, to help out people who are close to them as they were growing up, which causes them to, a lot of times, instead of maybe building their own foundation and creating a solid position for themselves in the future, to try and help everyone else along the way,” he explained. 

Wade didn’t grow up wealthy. He grew up in Chicago, where his mother struggled with drug addiction and his father with alcoholism. His parents divorced when Wade was a child, and he eventually moved out at 16 but went on to attend Marquette University. He was later drafted No. 5 overall in 2003 by the Miami Heat. The rest is history. 

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