Chicago Sky head coach and general manager James Wade made history on Sunday, becoming just the third Black head coach to win a WNBA championship.
In speaking with the media after the game, Wade — who signed a contract extension in January through 2025 — said he hopes to inspire other Black coaches.
“It’s big to do something in this space,” he said. “I’m just going to keep it real: I’ve always had to prove my intelligence. Always. So how do you do that? You do that through hard work. And they say, ‘OK, he’s a hard worker,’ but the hard work gets your intelligence in the room. So once you work hard, people start to listen to you.
“I understand that, and I’ve understood that from an early age, that I have to be different and … represent good visibility instead of … routine. Or the visibility that they try to put on us. So it’s important. It’s been important, and it’s going to always be important.”
But Wade also recognizes the importance of inspiring the next generation and trying to change the narrative.
“It’s not just for my son,” he continued. “It’s for every young Black kid that comes up behind me that you pre-judge because they have their pants down or they have their hat on backwards.
“But never judge a book by its cover. I’m not perfect by no means, but I’m always trying to do the right thing, and it has nothing to do with my color.
“I know the game of basketball, and I know what it takes to be a champion. And here we are.”