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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Wade and Diener join forces to raise money for youth literacy initiative

(Photo courtesy of Marquette athletics.)

Dwyane Wade and Travis Diener have always been competitive. 

Whether it was fighting in hotel rooms as 18-year-olds or challenging each other to an impromptu beer-chugging competition two decades later at the 20th Anniversary of the 2003 Final Four team, they love to beat each other. 

But this summer, the former Marquette men’s basketball guards are teaming up to raise money for a cause that has impacted Wade’s life directly: improving youth literacy rates. Wade said that as someone from inner-city Chicago, he knows what it is like to not have somewhere to go to improve your education.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve understood even more the power of it (youth literacy), the importance of it, especially in an inner-city community,” Wade said June 22 in a press conference. “For me, it’s all about how do we reduce gender and race inequality, and literacy is one of those ways.

“Being able to provide this for a community that doesn’t have resources was something that’s important to me. To encourage, to inform our youth on getting a better understanding and a deeper understanding on this world we live in.”

That is how Wade vs. Diener, a 3-day charity event taking place July 22-24, went from a figment of Wade’s imagination to a plan. With Diener already involved with Milwaukee youth through The Facility, his sports complex in Mequon, the plan became a reality.

The event will raise money for the Tragil Wade-Johnson Summer Reading Program, a foundation that works to improve youth literacy rates in Milwaukee. 

Over the course of the three days, there will be a camp for youth girls basketball players, a tailgate party and an 18-hole round of golf. 

The weekend kicks off with the basketball camp at The Facility, something Wade wanted to do specifically for young girls in basketball. 

“We all are supporters of the women’s game, we want to see it grow,” Wade, who recently bought an ownership stake in WNBA team the Chicago Sky, said. “So here we go, here’s our opportunity to do that.”

The next day, there is the Tee-Off Party with games, drinks and food trucks at Discovery World. 

At the party, Wade doesn’t want it to be formal and austere. He said he wants to see people having fun and returning to their college days.

“That party is not going to be a typical gala. It is not gonna be a sit down and let’s eat and have dinner and put the suit on and cross our legs. I want to see some sweat,” Wade said. “The world is hard enough. It’s a lot of things going on on the outside. So we get opportunities to have moments like this, and I want to enjoy each and every last second of it.”

The three-day event culminates with a full round of golf July 24 at The Bog in Saukville. There, a winning group will have the opportunity to play with Wade and Diener.

Wade said even though Diener comes into the weekend a better golfer, he is going all in on proving himself on the course against his former teammate. 

“I would say that Diener is better than me, and there’s a lot of people better than me right now,” Wade said. “But when I lock in, we know what that’s gonna look like.”

Last year, when the famed 2003 Final Four team had a summer golf-outing, Diener and Wade went back to their college days of trash-talking. 

So when July 24 rolls around and Wade says something quippy after Diener sends a ball into the woods, just like he would when they were teenagers, remember that old habits die hard. 

“It doesn’t matter that we got kids and we got bills and responsibilities,” Wade said. “When I get around my guys, (when) I get around Diener, I feel this youth-ness.” 

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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