It’s admittedly shameful how far I’ll stretch on a title to lure readers to our blog.
At Marquette, almost anything about Dwyane Wade, the superstar guard of the Miami Heat, is newsworthy, so coupling him with Barack Obama figures to capture the imagination of pretty much anyone.
In this case, I’m not feeling the least bit guilty, because my little ruse will turn you on to an extraordinary young man and the exceptional education he must be receiving. As you will see if you’re curious enough to check out some web videos, merely the President of the United States and one of the greatest basketball players in the galaxy share my perception.
Do you know Damon Weaver? One day you will. Maybe today.
The story of this 11-year old from Florida is rendered much better by three videosclips than anything I might write, so I’ll direct you to them very soon. My post will only provide a brief context. You must watch the videos to get a full appreciation for this story.
The first video is brief. It involves young Damon (who I’ve decided to think of as D-Weaver under the circumstances) introducing Dwyane Wade. In turn, our own D-Wade proceeds to take the microphone and challenge President Obama, a great lover of basketball, to a game of one-on-one.
But there is a catch. The Chief Executive must give Damon an interview in return. Check it out:
So what led up to this calling out of the Prez by MU’s former star hoopster you ask? Well, you’ll have to watch the second video below to find out.
In this next video, Damon conducts an interview with Dwyane that is impressive — whether he had help in writing the outstanding questions or not. You will be amazed at the composure this little guy demonstrates, although he has interviewed some other heavy hitters before as you will learn. In fact, our new dean of the Diederich College of Communication, Dr. Lori Bergen, ought to be recruiting this kid right now!
Anyway, during the interview, D-Weaver asks D-Wade to help him get the interview with the President using the one-on-one hook as an incentive. To Damon, it must have seemed worth a try.
D-Wade must have thought so, too, since he did give it a go. Maybe the effort was about celebrity status, or maybe because both Dwyane (Robbins, IL) and Barack are from the Chicago area and are familiar to each other. (D-Weaver would call them ‘home boys’ by the way, but you’ll have to watch the videos to understand that angle completely).
Let me just tease you by hinting that the questions and answers related to Dwyane being one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People a few years ago, the perception about him liking cartoons, and why he supported President Obama — seeing as how he makes over $250,000 a year are absolutely priceless! I’ll say more on an important aspect of the interview in a bit. In the meantime, enjoy the next 5 minutes and 23 seconds.
Now, are you sitting down? If so, then GET A LOAD OF THIS ONE…
The last video is an interview Damon conducts with…yes, that’s right…the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. It is literally the fulfillment of this young reporter’s dream. Suffice it to say that you will be captivated by this interview, too:
This time it wasn’t just Damon who impressed me, though. I marveled at the ease with which the President conversed with our precocious interviewer, especially the way that he could explain complex concepts in such understandable ways. The best teachers possess this gift; I honestly didn’t expect to see it actualized so well in a public official.
Although this final interview runs about 10-minutes, it is time well worth spending. Since our blog is about Education after all, I’d be remiss in not mentioning that the topic gets notable air time in the exchange of questions and answers. In fact, the President alludes to a major speech he’ll be giving on September 8th to share his thinking on education in America.
Once again, the questions Damon asks are superb, and made me think that whatever they’re doing at Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary School should be bottled and distributed throughout the country. If Damon is at all indicative of the caliber of student that school produces, then all educators would do well to visit there and take serious notes.
Lastly, I’d like to say some prideful words about D-Wade, because the timing is right. He’ll be in town today to conduct a basketball clinic, but more importantly, to promote an exciting new national partnership between Marquette and the Boys and Girls Club. MU has established three full scholarships to support winners of the club’s Youth of the Year program, and Wade’s World Foundation plans to help with this noble effort.
In commenting on the initiative, Dwyane stated publicly that education, particularly the experiences he had at Marquette, made a difference in his life. He wants to return the favor, and our former superstar’s efforts are both welcome and gratifying.
But we get a deeper glimpse of the man Dwyabe Wade has become from his time with Damon. Like the President, he interacts with genuine kindness, humility, and sensitivity to his young interviewer.
And during the questioning, Dwyane comments, “it’s not about me; it’s about others.” Later, when asked what advice he’d offer kids, his answer qualified as a game winning three-pointer at the buzzer in my book.
He told Damon that they should “Believe,” be trusting of authority, and “work hard.” In fact, he went on to say that you must “do extra, do more” which is the epitome of Marquette’s notion of “magis.”
So, what we have here in D-Wade is what our patron saint, Ignatius of Loyola, would regard as a “Man for Others,” one who believes in the unwavering pursuit of excellence. Dwyane’s statements are music to an MU dean’s ears, I tell ya!
By the way, look for the D-Wade/B-Obama one-on-one match-up when the Heat plays the Washington Wizards the first week of April. There won’t be any losers in that contest.
***A very special note of thanks is due to my blog mentor, Tim Cigelske, who alerted me to the three videos. Oh, and another note is that I was thinking of challenging D-Wade to some one-on-one when he was in town. But, as much as I’d love to take him to school on the court, the sad reality is that I’ve got no game whatsoever any more. Plus, there is the not so small fact that he is TRULY AMAZING…
And as we’ve learned, not just in basketball!