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Dwayne Wade and Author James Patterson, Why Reading Is Cool

by Gabriel Katz

The NBA playoffs have begun, and basketball is a current hot topic with some of the game’s biggest stars in action. However, on April 25 young people gathered around computers for a different kind of broadcast, as Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade partnered with bestselling author James Patterson to host a webcast on the importance of reading and education. The episode, titled “ONE ON ONE: Fundamentals with Dwyane Wade and James Patterson,” featured Wade, as well as NBA stars LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Terrance Ross, and Stephen Curry.

Seated next to Patterson and surrounded by an audience of students, Wade detailed how his own experiences – as a player, a father, and a new author himself – have led him to place a renewed level of importance on the subjects of the discussion. His colleagues shared similar stories during portions of the webcast, which was broadcast for free to schools, libraries, and to anyone else interested in an encouraging story. The event was sponsored by NBA Cares, Wade’s World Foundation, ReadKiddoRead and Hachette Book Group and aired on Patterson’s web site.

“It’s as simple as sitting down,” Wade explained. “Sitting at the table, sitting in your room every night before they go to bed to read a book, get their minds working… if your mind is working, everything else works as well.

“Kids are always about what’s next – let’s go, let’s do this, let’s do that – reading is about slowing down, stopping, pausing.”

In a separate portion of the webcast, Curry also emphasized how the training of one’s brain when it comes to reading and education is a foundation, extending far beyond the game of basketball.

“To institute reading early is important because it opens your eyes to a lot of different areas in life,” Curry said. “It trains your mind to think on its own. It opens up your imagination and creativity. There’s so many talented people when it comes to playing sports that didn’t understand the importance of education and how far that can take you, and they miss out on a lot of opportunities because of it.”
Curry also said that when he’s not shooting 3-point baskets, he is aiming to read at least one novel per month. He acknowledges it’s not as much as some people, “but it’s enough that when I’m on the road [and I have] down time, I’m not staring at my phone a lot.”

“(The NBA) wants your body to be as fit as it can be and they want your mind to be as fit as it can be,” reasoned Patterson, who according to his site holds the Guinness world record for most #1 New York Times bestsellers of any author. “And that’s a great combination and people don’t usually think about the strong mind part of the NBA.”
Throughout the episode, Wade and the other athletes explained that reading can be a tool not just for learning, but also for a break from the game they love and work so hard to compete at.

“When we’re traveling, you need moments to yourself where you can sit and just go into another place, and I think books take you there,” said Wade. “It takes you to this fantasy world of ‘maybe I’m this character, maybe I’m that character…’ You always have to stimulate your mind.”

If you missed the webcast and would like an opportunity to tune, according to an encore showing will be held in May. Visit their website on May 1st for more information and to sign up.

Gabe Katz
A journalism enthusiast – sports media in particular – Gabe has interviewed Super Bowl champions Raheem Brock and Chris Canty, and rising star Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey. He’s covered organizations and events affiliated with the NY Rangers, NY Knicks, and NBA Cares. He has also written articles featuring NY Yankees’ Robinson Cano and CC Sabathia, Tina Charles (WNBA), Deron William’s Point of Hope Foundation (NBA), and the foundations of Torrey Smith and Ryan Kerrigan (NFL). After graduating from Temple University where he received a degree in communications, he had two subsequent positions in news, first as an online editor and contributor for a Philadelphia sports web site start-up and later as a multimedia content provider at a newspaper in the Philadelphia suburbs. He now lives in New York as a freelance journalist and remains an avid sports fan.