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September 6th, 2012
10:30 AM ET

NBA superstar Dwyane Wade on being a dad: ‘Always tell your kids how much you love them’

NBA superstar Dwyane Wade is not just a former MVP on the basketball court; he’s currently the MVP in the lives of his two sons, 5-year-old Zion and 10-year-old Zaire. Wade talks to Soledad O’Brien on “Starting Point” this morning about the meaning of fatherhood and his new book “A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball.”

“I just feel that being a father, being a parent, in itself, is the greatest gift that we’re given,” he says. Wade says he has wanted to be a great dad since his childhood. “It was kind of like I was molded my whole life to be a great dad.” The Miami Heat point guard says being the role model for his sons and his nephew, Dada, is “an unbelievable challenge, but it’s so rewarding, it’s so filling. Nothing feels better.”

His advice for parents, though he says he’s no expert, is that, “just as much as our kids learn from us, we learn from them.”

Wade says he follows his mother’s advice most. “What my mother always told me is, ‘No matter what, always tell your kids how much you love them. Always tell your kids how great they are. You don’t want them hearing it from or searching for it from somewhere else.’” He says he’s excited to have that opportunity to tell his sons that now. “The little things is what really matters,” he says.

Facing and winning a very personal and bitter custody battle for his sons in the public eye was very tough for Wade. "Having to deal with the public perception of what’s real and what’s not, but at the end of the day, I kept my focus on my kids,” he says. “I didn’t make myself the most important person involved in the whole divorce and the custody battle.” He says it was unfortunate his marriage didn’t work out, “But what was important for me is that we still became, that we still were, great parents to our kids, and they shouldn’t suffer because of our relationship failures,” Wade says. “So that’s what I try to continue to do.”

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