To these kids he is a basketball superstar with a multimillion dollar contract and a glamorous NBA lifestyle. But he also represents their hopes and dreams. Because Dwyane Wade grew up in the same rough Chicago neighborhoods they live in now. That's why he's involved with his foundation in helping provide opportunities for them.
"When you're in the community, when you're in the city, you have to find your way," Wade said. "I look at it as you have to find your way out."
Wade's foundation is partnering with Chicago's By The Hand Club to improve literacy for inner city students. The club helps nearly a thousand of the most challenged kids in some of the city's most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, mentoring them.
"He brings a lot of attention to the organization and attention to our cause," said Donnita Travis.
Wade's family still lives in Chicago and was touched by the reality of the violent Chicago streets two weeks ago when his 20-year-old nephew was injured in a shooting at a South Side convenience store. It is still very much on his mind.
"To have someone in my own family to be involved it hurt and it hit home," Wade said.
Wade says he understands reading is one of the best predictors of success for students, which is why he wants to help kids from his hometown. Tomorrow night he says he'll be focused on trying to beat the Chicago Bulls.