If you’re a basketball fan, then you know it’s the final season for Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, and — potentially but very likely — Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki is retiring as well. Two big guys who will surely be missed in the game. Both men played in their final home games of the regular season Tuesday night and got tear–inducing tributes before their respective tipoffs, with Wade capping off his last game with 30 points and a final W for his team.
Wade was also honoured in a different way, in the form of a Budweiser ad. Now, before you scoff, this is not your average beer commercial. Gabrielle Union‘s husband has spent the last 16 seasons in the NBA and has obviously had time to create friendships with teammates and opposing players. During this past year, in what he called his #OneLastDance tour, D-Wade’s been swapping jerseys with some of the men who have been in his life, from longtime pals to friendly rivals to up-and-comers who idolized him. What Wade might not have realized is just how many people off the court he’s made a mark on.
Five people showed up to honour Wade in the ad, and while they didn’t have jerseys to swap, what they give him instead, what they tell him, is so much more. You ready? If you’re already welling up, it’s understandable. Just be warned, you need to be well-equipped with tissues because the tears will soon be flowing, so grab them before you hit play. We’re not joking.
Oy. How you doing? You OK to go on? The first four special guests were unexpected but powerful, and as they told their stories it was hard not to get emotional. Hearing them explain just how much Wade helped them through difficult times was almost too much to take. But then the ad hit us even harder in the feels when Dwyane’s mother, Pastor Jolinda Wade, showed up, recalling her darker days and how her son never gave up on her. We totally understand if you were a wreck at that point.
“Throughout the year, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my basketball career and thank so many teammates, coaches and mentors who have impacted me on the court,” Wade said in a statement to Adweek. “Thanks to Budweiser for reminding me that my connection to people is bigger than basketball. While my basketball career is coming to a close in the coming days, my relationship with my fans will only continue to grow.”
We can’t wait to see what D-Wade’s got in store for us going forward. May his future and his influence on others be bright.