They’re the most recognizable players the first NCAA Basketball Academy West Regional at Grand Canyon University, mainly because of their last names.
It was probably no coincidence that guards Zaire Wade and Shaqir O’Neal — sons of former NBA superstars Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal — were made roommates for the first session of the camp, even though they’re on different teams.
They’ve already discussed creating their own basketball paths.
“That’s my guy, Shaqir,” Wade said. “Another NBA son. We want to make a name for ourselves.”
On Tuesday, during the first day of the NCAA-regulated evaluation week for invited high school basketball players, Wade, playing for the 1981 Indiana Hoosiers (the teams are named after NCAA champions), showed off a mid-range jumper, a strong left hand and athleticism.
“I don’t ever listen to that,” Wade said about being like his dad on the court. “I never try to live up what they say. I just want to play my game. I’m looking to make my own name.”
Wade, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound point guard, is making a fresh start this summer.
His family recently moved from Florida to Chatsworth, Calif., where he will play his senior season for national powerhouse Sierra Canyon. There, he will team up with an incoming freshman who might have a harder last name to live up to.
Bronny James is the son of NBA star LeBron James, who teamed up with Dwyane in Miami for an NBA championship with the Heat.
When Bronny and Zaire team up, no doubt the fathers will be brought up in most interviews.
Zaire is ready.
“We’re all just excited to get together,” he said.
With his dad now retired from the NBA, Zaire said his dad will be more involved with him. He said he expects to see him at all of his high school games this season. With his move to Southern California, Zaire has picked up advice from LeBron James to just be himself.