One thing I’ve never really written about is how much I love the NBA. It is by far my favorite sport to follow, in large part because I have tremendous respect for Lebron James as a basketball player and as a person. But nobody — including JAY-Z — can talk about Lebron without mentioning Dyane Wade, his partner in an unstoppable Miami Heat Duo that crushed the rest of the league in 2012 and 2013, winning two consecutive championships.
So you can imagine how excited I was to see Wade at Rennsport Reunion the other weekend. And not only did I see him, I even gave him some pointers on how to drive a Porsche Tractor. Here’s a quick video of that:
Rennsport Reunion — a giant Porsche fest held at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California and a reminder of just how strong the brand has become in the U.S — featured quite a few celebrities, but the first one I saw as soon as I entered the special VIP tent at the top of the hill appeared to be Dwyane Wade. Incredulous, I even snapped a picture after Beau and I dusted a quick breakfast:
Later, while gawking over the vintage Porsche tractors for which I have a soft spot (the very first Porsche I ever drove was a Porsche Junior single-cylinder diesel tractor), I noticed Dywane Wade hovering in the general vicinity, talking with the great Jeff Zwart about the agricultural equipment.
To my surprise, he hopped onto the Junior tractor right next to where I was standing!
As you might imagine, this attracted a crowd of journalists:
After getting some tips from Zwart on how to drive, the legendary basketball player answered questions and had fun on the tractor as he got used to the controls.
I reassured him that he was unlikely to stall the tractor due to its gearing and its torquey engine. Plus, the tractor is robust so it can handle whatever Wade throws at it. “They’re really hard to stall,” I said. “How do you stall it?” he replied.
I told him that all he has to do is let off the clutch slowly and he’ll have no issues. “Let off the clutch slowly when?…You’re talking about when you let off there?” he inquired as he took his left foot off the clutch pedal. I replied with an affirmative.
“Then I let off it and then it’ll go and then go gas?” he asked. Again, I said yes.
Wade then asked about the pedals on the right; admittedly, I kind of forgot what those did. In any case, the basketball Champion had it all figured out by race time. Look at how confident he looked:
After a LeMans-style start, he hit the track on the tractor. This is him with the white helmet:
Here he is after the lap, driving back to the pits:
I caught up with Wade after he hopped out of the cute little red tractor, and told him he did a good job. “I had a little assistance,” he told me as he gave me a fistbump.
I’m not a big celebrator of celebrities, admittedly, but Wade is one of my favorite basketball players of all time, and for him — a serious athlete with a history of Dunking On Fools — to partake in something this silly and fun, and all in the context of an event that’s doing a lot ot further car culture, well, I just loved every moment of it.