When LeBron James announced his decision to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dan Wade knew his Twitter mentions were about to get a lot more interesting.
“I can take a step back and laugh at it,” the 27-year-old said. There are "a lot of really angry people, a lot of passionate people.”
You see, @DWade on Twitter isn’t Miami Heat star and Richards High graduate Dwyane Wade. Rather, the account belongs to the other DWade—a mild mannered University of Chicago graduate who just moved to St. Louis and looks nothing like the celebrity he’s sometimes mistaken for on social media. Dan Wade works as an activation lead for social media platform LockerDome.
After James' announcement today, people started tweeting @DWade about LeBron James having no loyalty towards him or owing him millions of dollars. They said he was rumored to be signing with the Atlanta Hawks, despite the fact that he’s got no basketball prowess whatsoever.
“My athletic prowess pretty much tapped out at like fifth grade,” Dan Wade said, laughing. And he's white. "Those two things alone preclude me from being the real Dwyane Wade,” he said.
Dan Wade took the handle when he got on Twitter back in February 2008.
It didn’t hit him just how many people were going to mistake him for the basketball star until LeBron James’ infamous televised “The Decision” special in 2010.
“It was the night before my wedding, so I was thinking about other things,” he said. “All of a sudden, my phone just blows up. It was vibrating off the table."
Dan Wade's phone also blew up when Delonte West was rumored to be sleeping with James' mother, he said. "I had like 25 people with a permutation of the joke ‘Are you going to sleep with LeBron’s mom?’”
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to some of the more interesting mentions he’s gotten over the past few years.
“When the Spurs won the championship, I had a bunch of people [tweeting] Gabrielle Union saying she should leave me because I was a terrible, terrible person,” he said. “I didn’t know losing a basketball game was grounds for divorce."
But scandals aren't all. Dan Wade has made new celebrity acquaintances online. "Joe Jonas once asked me for tickets," he said. "Stephon Marbury tweeted me in the midst of the lockout to punch David Stern.”
And on the bright side…
“Fortunately, I haven’t gotten a death threat in a couple of years,” he said.
That doesn’t mean he’s not having some fun with all the attention he’s been receiving of late.
A few days ago, Wade changed his avatar from his own headshot to a picture of Dwyane Wade. In the coming days, he’s hoping to use whatever clout he has on social media to help the Bulls’ cause with a certain high-profile free agent.
“I may continue to tweet at Carmelo Anthony to see if I can draw him to Chicago,” Dan Wade said.
But he doesn't want @DWade to become a parody account, he said. “I’ll probably give the Dwyane Wade avatar another three or four days and then I’ll put it back to me."
He and his social media doppelganger have never actually met, though they have been in the same building once, he said.
Nobody from the other Wade’s (real handle: @DwyaneWade) camp has reached out to Dan about taking over @DWade, but he would consider doing so if they asked.
“I figure if they really want it, they know how to reach me,” he said. “I’m not going to just hand it over, but I’m also not looking to soak him or anything.”
Here are a sample of the Tweets @DWade has received:
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@Dwade keep your head up dude...— Jeremy Nelson (@jeremynelson77) July 11, 2014