Wade will join O’Neal, his former teammate on the title-winning 2006 Miami Heat, and WNBA star Candace Parker as an analyst on the network’s overhauled Tuesday night programming. TNT scrapped its “Players Only” broadcasts on Tuesdays, which featured former players riffing from a studio rather than a traditional broadcast call with a play-by-play broadcaster and color commentator.
Yet WarnerMedia, which oversees Turner Sports, plans to use Wade in a variety of roles that will span from “sports, lifestyle and entertainment” content. In addition to his NBA commentary, the company said that Wade will provide in-studio analysis during the NCAA Final Four and contribute to special projects for Bleacher Report. WarnerMedia chairman Jeff Zucker called Wade a “transcendent star” with an “engaging and thoughtful personality” while announcing the agreement.
“I have great respect for TNT’s team of analysts and their long-standing commitment to quality sports coverage,” Wade said in a prepared statement. “After sixteen seasons in the NBA, I look forward to connecting with my fans in this new role and bringing my own perspective to the game I love.”
The 37-year-old Wade, who is married to the actress Gabrielle Union, was easily this summer’s biggest NBA television free agent. A charismatic three-time champion and future Hall of Famer who has held major endorsement deals with Gatorade, Hublot and Li-Ning sneakers, Wade drew interest from both ESPN and TNT, according to the New York Post.
For years, Wade’s transition to television has seemed inevitable. Long one of the league’s leaders in all-star votes and jersey sales, Wade enjoyed a high-profile retirement tour last year in which he traded jerseys with friends and rivals around the league. He told ESPN in an April interview that he had “no idea” what he planned to do in retirement but that he wanted “to see what I can be great at.”
Wade served as a guest analyst on ESPN and ABC during the 2015 NBA Finals, which pitted his friend and former teammate LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors. At the time, he told the Associated Press that a future in television was a possibility “if it was right and made sense.” This summer, he joined Union as a judge on the NBC show, “America’s Got Talent.”
The Los Angeles Times reported last month that Wade plans to spend “most of [his] time” this year living in Southern California, where his son Zaire plays on the same high school basketball team as James’s eldest son, Bronny. Even so, Wade will make his TNT appearances on set in Atlanta.
Earlier this month, WarnerMedia announced the signing of Stan Van Gundy, the longtime NBA coach, as an analyst on TNT’s Tuesday night broadcasts.