Dwyane Wade talks Madness, streak, sons

When you ask NBA great Dwyane Wade when he became at peace with the world, you'd think he'd say:

• Winning his first NBA Championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.

• Capturing a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics as part of the U.S. "Redeem Team."

• When his Heat, with LeBron James, defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals.

"It probably is when I got custody of my boys a few years ago," said Wade, who won custody in 2011 after his divorce with Siohvaughn Funches. "I went through some challenging times in my personal life for three years. I had to really grow up, learn about life and learn about myself."

That time, going through the divorce, meant reflection.

"When I sat down, I thought about what was most important to me. That was being a great father," Wade said. "Obviously, playing basketball in the NBA and winning titles are a dream come true, but if it's not right at home, nothing feels right. Now it's all icing on the cake."

This week, Wade is appearing in a series of TV commercials for Dove Men+Care products during March Madness to show how important fatherhood is.

Playbook had a few minutes with Wade to talk about this project and the Heat's winning streak.

You're known as a great NBA player, but you had a remarkable run while at Marquette in 2003. You scored a triple-double to beat Kentucky and reach the Final Four.

"My run through college and the Final Four was something special that is still talked about. I thought what Dove was doing was great. They know how important my kids and family are to me."

What do your children mean to you?

"When you have kids, they are the consistent things in your life. They don't change no matter what's going on. They love you. They are more honest than anybody will be. And it's something you created, in a sense. When I look at them, I see some of the things I do and have done. It gives me a great feeling to work hard and hope they have lives greater than mine. My kids mean the world to me. I'm trying to do everything to make them proud of me."

I know you're only 31, but do you sometimes feel you're the father of the Miami Heat?

"Nah! We have a veteran team. I think everybody is policing themselves. Now a few years ago with Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers, and I was leading the league in scoring, I felt like the father then. I would, 'Stop!' and 'Don't do that!' It's a little different now."

With the Harlem Shake and this winning streak, it seems like you guys are having so much fun.

"We are. It started last year. That first year with LeBron, there was so much negativity around our team. We weren't having fun with the game. We started feeding into it. We were winning, but it didn't feel right. We now understand it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You don't get to be on a team like this that often. We must enjoy the process. We understand that we're playing basketball and we have these great relationships with our teammates. We're enjoying it. We're playing well on court and even better off the court. That's why it's so special."

I love how you're talking more about relationships and less about basketball.

"I think you hit it on the head. No team works out teamwork. We have to work together and respect each other. That's the same way with your family. I'm 31 years old and happy with all my teams, home and at work."

Sounds like you're not even thinking about retiring.

"The biggest thing is my health. When you're healthy, you can do so many great things. Your body will tell you when it's time to leave. I'm playing with a guy who is 37 years old, Ray Allen. He's in unbelievable shape. Kobe Bryant. Steve Nash. They all are playing at a high level. If you take care of your body and your mind, you can play until you're ready to stop playing."

With the streak at 22 games, it sounds like it's just part of your quest.

"Being part of the streak is awesome. One day we'll look back on it and realize it's part of history. We're in the process of doing things to put ourselves in position to compete for a championship. Yes, the streak is on the court, but we're just enjoying the opportunity we're having. Being in the city of Miami is even better. It's an amazing city. You can hear it in my voice. The opportunities we have come from success and winning, and we understand what we need to do."