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Pros Wade, Hester lend expertise to youth camps

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade is mobbed after sinking a 30-foot shot to win the Mayor's Cup Friday during the Dwyane Wade Skills Academyat Lincoln-Way Central. (Jeff Vorva/Tribune)

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade is mobbed after sinking a 30-foot shot to win the Mayor's Cup Friday during the Dwyane Wade Skills Academyat Lincoln-Way Central. (Jeff Vorva/Tribune)

When Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade and Bears receiver Devin Hester were making arrangements to hold youth summer camp, they had no idea the  NBA and NFL would be involved in lockouts—and they would  be unemployed.

“Us and the kids have something in common,” said Wade during camp last week at  Lincoln-Way Central High School,. “They don’t have jobs and we don’t have jobs and we all love sports.” (Photos: Wade and Hester camps)

Organizers of the Dwyane Wade Skills Academy and Devin Hester Football Camp estimated that 600 area athletes ages  7-18 attended  camps July 7 and 8.

The lockouts gave the two athletes a chance to tell the campers that sports isn’t all about fun and games.

‘’We want to teach these kids about life through sports,” said Wade, a former Richards High School standout.

But the two stars also tried to make it fun for the campers with a dance contest and a few skills competitions as they attempted to win a trophy from New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann.

“Some of (the campers) might not make it to the NFL or (NBA),” Hester said. “This is about having fun and giving them fun. It cheers them up and brightens up their day.”

Athletes from all over the Chicago area participated.  Pace Temple, Alex Lobrillo and Nate Navigato made the trip from Geneva because Wade was running the camp. So did Austin King, of Manhattan, who said having Wade instructing was fun.

Adam Taylor, of Mokena, said that he didn’t let Wade’s presence rattle him during drills.

“You just admit he’s a superstar and then play your game,” Taylor said.

This is the first year the two stars joined forced and they said they hope for a bigger and better camp next year.

Hester has some unfinished business. In a quest for the Mayor’s Cup trophy, Hester hit a couple of free throws to tie the skills competition. Wade needed to hit one of two 30-foot shot attempts to win the Cup.

Wade, whose Heat squad lost to Dallas in the NBA Finals, swished the first and was mobbed by campers.

“I didn’t want to lose another trophy this season,” Wade said.

“He didn’t give me a chance to finish polishing (the trophy) up,’’ Hester said. “I thought maybe he would get the second one but not the first.’’

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