Ahead of his last NBA game ever, Budweiser surprised Dwyane Wade with a different type of tribute. Bud gathered 5 people — all of whom he has helped off-the-court — to thank him for changing their lives. We dare you to not cry…
As Dwyane Wade nears his final NBA game before he will hang up his jersey forever, Budweiser paid tribute to Miami Heat guard, 37, with an emotional video about the impact he’s had off-the-court. The four-minute ad, released on April 9, opens with Dwyane walking onto an empty court inside AmericanAirlines Arena. — A place close to his heart after winning three championships with Miami. The video then rolls through highlights of his time in Miami, and gives the impression that Dwyane will be gifted with five jerseys from different people he’s helped throughout his career.
“To honor his final season Dwyane Wade has been swapping jersey with NBA legends,” the video says. “But before he says goodbye we surprised him with five more.” One-by-one, Dwyane is greeted by five people who have something for him in their hands, but none of the items are jerseys. Instead, each person gifts Dwyane with a symbolic item from the situations he helped with.
The group includes his mother, Jolinda, who struggled with addiction, went to prison and then changed the course of her life after she was released with the help of her son. “You were the joy of my life, but I was dropping the ball,” she says in the video, referring to her dark past. “Your mama went down a road, Dywane, that I didn’t ever think I’d come back from. But on that road, I noticed you kept showing up,” Jolinda recalls before gifting him with a purple robe he once gave to her. “Purple symbolize royalty. And you are royalty in everybody’s life that you have touched,” she says.
The other four people are those who Dwyane has helped, personally over the course of his career. The sister of Joaquin Oliver, who was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year, walks onto the court. Dwyane was her brother’s favorite basketball player, and after the shooting, Dwyane wrote Joaquin’s name on his shoes during one of his games. To express her gratitude for his support, the sister hands Dwyane the jersey her brother wore in his last championship game and says, “My family wanted you to have it.”
A woman whose house burned down 10 before Christmas is also present in the video. After her family lost everything, Dwyane took them on a shopping spree. Then, a woman who desperately wanted to go to college, but couldn’t afford it, also steps onto the court. She gifts Dwyane with her cap and gown after she was able to get an education through his organization, which honored her with a full tuition scholarship. The only male in the ad gifts Dwyane with the suit jacket he wore to his first job interview, after the NBA star inspired him to turn his life around.
The voice of Dwyane’s mother closes the ad, as she narrates the purpose of the video: “I am more proud of the man you have become than the basketball player,” she says. “You are bigger than basketball.”
Dwyane and Miami are currently battling with the Detroit Pistons and the Charlotte Hornets for a chance to clinch the last spot in the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Heat will host the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, April 9, which will mark Dwyane’s last game at home in Miami, before closing out the regular season on the road against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.