We see him in commercials, we see him on the red carpet with his movie star lady friend, we see him dunk on people’s heads like it’s nothing, we’ve seen him hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy (twice), we’ve even seen him light up Madison Square Garden.

What we haven’t see Dwyane Wade do is go without electricity, food and live in a type of environment of which no person should be subjected. Yet that is the exact type of existence Wade had to escape from growing up on the south side of Chicago. The 30-year-old Wade doesn’t take his success for granted, which is exactly why he has decided to donate his game check (approx. $210,000 gross) from last Friday’s Heat/Knicks game to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Wade made it known last week that, in his opinion, the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks shouldn’t have even be playing in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It’s understandable why he would feel that way, given that the Knicks game against at the Brooklyn Nets was canceled the day before, and since Sandy may go down as the most destructive storm in American history. As of November 3, Sandy was responsible for the deaths of 80 Americans (41 in New York City), 7.5 million power outages and and estimated $50 billion in financial losses.

“Obviously sports is something that takes people’s minds away from things, but there are bigger things that need to be done here in the city,” Wade told USA Today.

Wade didn’t have much growing up, so he can empathize with some of what of Hurricane Sandy’s victims are forced to endure.

“I grew up very poor. I grew up many days, many nights where I didn’t have electricity and a lot of things.” He continued, “Just being blessed with I’m blessed with today, that’s where my compassionate side comes from. Knowing where I’ve been and knowing people who are still out there who are growing up like I grew up and are going through similar things that I did; I always try to do what I can to help others.”

Living in Miami for the past nine years of his professional career has also given D-Wade perspective on what it takes for a community to survive a hurricane.

You may not like the Miami Heat, but you can do nothing but salute Dwyane Wade for his outspokenness and charitable donation in light of this great tragedy. Let’s hope more athletes and entertainers follow suit.

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