At 41, retired NBA star Dwyane Wade says he knows that “50 is coming.”
Since his retirement from basketball in 2019, Wade says he’s put a stronger emphasis on being mindful of his health — physical and mental, to succeed in all areas of his life post-playing career.
“At this stage, and especially on the topic of health, it’s not something I could take lightly. I’m 41, looking at 50, and I’m thinking about how I want to be then,” Wade tells PEOPLE.
The former Miami Heat star says one of the ways he’s noticed his body change in recent years is the start of “mental fog” — which can hinder him as an entrepreneur and a father.
“I have mental fog. You know when things just go blank sometimes and you’re like, ‘Where’s that word? How do you spell that word? What was that thought?’ ” Wade explains.
The retired father says his bouts of mental fog affect him, as a self-proclaimed “energy person.” He explains: “I’m youthful. It’s all about my energy. When I walk into a room, my energy needs to feel great.”
Through a partnership with science-driven wellness company Thorne, and their campaign Build to Last, Wade says he’s learned ways to combat the mental fog and other concerns for his health. “I’ve sat down with Thorne and talked about, ‘Hey, this is what I’m experiencing at 41.’ and I don’t know everything there is to know about my body, but I can ask questions.”
Wade says through Thorne, he and his son Zaire, who co-stars in the campaign’s ad, have been able to customize their nutrition plans to be at their healthiest.
“Build to Last is the campaign and that’s what I’m trying to do,” says Wade. “I’m trying to build this body and I’m trying to build this mind so I can last and I can be here as healthy as I can be.”
Post-retirement, maintaining his health as a former athlete isn’t easy. “That level that you have now, how do you keep that when you’re older? One day, when we feel like we never get old, we will,” he says.
Beyond the campaign, Wade hopes his urgency around physical health will reach his fans, and especially Black men. “That’s a part of my journey, even when it comes to this partnership, is this is not just about me. This is bigger than me.”
Wade continues, “If I can help these young men, and if I can help Black men understand the importance of the things that go inside our bodies to help us maximize all of our potential, that’s a part of my responsibility.”
Working with Zaire, 21, on the collaboration was “a lot of fun” for the father-of-five. “To be at this place in life now where we’re doing commercials together, I was just smiling,” he gushes. “I’m just a proud dad.”
“We grew up together,” Wade says of his son Zaire, adding, “and so we have so many different levels of our relationship and this is just another extension of that.”
Expanding on his dynamic with Zaire, Wade says, “We’re like brothers, we’re like father-son, we’re like best friends, and now we work together, we’re partners in this whole thing. It doesn’t have to just be one way, as father-son, and I love that.”
Wade shares two children with ex-wife Siovaughn Funches; Zaire, 21, and Zaya, 16, as well as a son, Xavier, 9, with Aja Metoyer. In 2018, Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, welcomed a daughter, Kaavia James, 4. Wade is also the legal guardian of his nephew, Dahveon Morris, 21.