Careers

This is what NBA star Dwyane Wade learned from his summer job in high school 

Even the rich and famous had jobs as kids, whether it was scooping ice cream like former President Barack Obama or working at McDonald's like Jeff Bezos. NBA star Dwyane Wade is no different. Wade recently revealed one of his first summer jobs to CNBC Make It.

“One of my jobs in high school, I was a porter for a Bob Watson car company,” Wade tells CNBC Make It, referring to an Illinois car dealership. “So I would be the guy that once someone comes in and they buy a car, I had to wash it up, I had to get it nice for them."

His job, he explains, included carefully parking cars into tiny parking spaces, not always an easy feat.

“When you go past a car lot, you see all these cars parked nicely. I had to be to the one to fit those cars into that little bitty space,” Wade, now 36, says.

“That was a fun job for me as well, because I was learning how to drive and I had to like not mess up nobody’s cars. These people come in and buying these cars, and I had to make sure they look good, but also to make sure that everything was taken care of.”

So what did Wade spend his hard-earned money on back then? Like many teens, he bought clothes or shoes.

“All my paychecks, when I was in high school, it was just spent on the things that I wanted," says Wade, who grew up poor in Chicago. "So if I wanted some jeans or if I wanted an outfit to go to school, if I wanted a chain, if I wanted, obviously, sneakers, whatever it is that I feel like I wanted, I had some money to do that because I worked a few jobs."

Summer, he explains, was the best time to rake in some extra cash.

“I could only work jobs in the summertime, because I played basketball," Wade says. "I went to school all during the year, I wasn't able to make a lot of money, but only in the summertime.”

Wade went on to attend Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on scholarship, where he skipped his senior year to declare for the NBA draft in 2003. He selected at an impressive fifth overall by the Miami Heat.

Since then, Wade has skyrocketed to basketball stardom playing for teams including the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2017, Forbes ranked him the sixth highest paid basketball player with a salary of $23.2 million and total earnings of $36.2 million. The sports star has partnerships with brands like Gatorade and Amazon Fashion.

Wade says the work ethic that was instilled in him as a teen working summer jobs has stayed with him throughout his tenure in basketball and business. The impressive drive that has defined his decade-long career, he explains, stems from growing up without much.

Hustle is something he learned early on.

“For me, not growing up with money, my family not growing up with money, not knowing where your next meal will come from, those are things that drove me,” Wade says. “Those [are the] things that continue to live deep inside of me, that I just can't get rid of, right? It’s the thing that makes me work at everything the way that I do.”

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