Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade allies with a dubious business partner | Feature | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade allies with a dubious business partner

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"It's ridiculous that I have to prove it," he laments. "I've been a baron all my life."


On June 11, Dwyane Wade is at the Overtown Youth Center, a cheery after-school building on a desolate block, where he and Mourning are promoting the annual Summer Groove, a July event benefiting their two children's charities. He's dressed casually in a light-gray button-down, navy yachting shorts, and ankle-cut Converses, and he wears a massive diamond-encrusted watch. He's sans entourage, at first toying with the keys of a baby grand tucked into the corner of an empty classroom. As he sits at a desk, he appears gigantic in a room where everything is child-sized.

This is a summer of great consequence for Wade. He and Riley have already begun a public back-and-forth concerning his contract, which expires in 2010. Negotiations in the next couple of months could decide whether Wade remains in Miami for the long term. And then there's the libel suit he filed against his former partner less than two weeks ago — which he has refused to discuss with the media.

"In this media-driven world, people are going to be looking for attention," Wade ruminates during an interview with New Times. "And what better way to get it than to attack somebody who has the fame? But the truth always prevails... Once [it] comes out, you're going to be hurt more than me."

As the interview progresses, Wade's watchful publicist, Lisa Joseph, sits down beside him. When the superstar is asked to speak explicitly on the libel suit against von Houtman, he responds only, "It's really pretty simple... " Then Joseph interjects: "We're going to have to end this interview if you can't stay on the charity event."

"Leave the personal personal," continues Wade. And the talk returns to permitted grounds.

Will von Houtman prevail? Probably not. Eight days after this interview, the Heat player met President Obama at the White House for a summit on fatherhood. But Wade likely won't be free of the remnants of his disastrous business partnership for years — and the libel suit has done little to muzzle von Houtman. Of the hoops star's meeting with Obama, the baron complains: "The president is making a fool of himself." Then he makes several calls to Washington, recounting his claims to White House receptionists.

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Gus Garcia-Roberts

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