We suggest you have some tissues handy. A new Budweiser commercial that debuted on Tuesday, April 9, honors the journey of basketball legend Dwyane Wade, who played his final professional game on Wednesday. However, instead of paying homage to Wade’s career on the court, the video honors all he has accomplished outside of sports.
As the nearly four-minute ad explains via text, the 37-year-old athlete has spent the last several months swapping jerseys with a myriad of other NBA legends. “Before he says goodbye, we surprised him with five more,” the commercial notes.
The video then shows Wade walking onto the empty Miami Heat court. The lights in the arena are off, but the court is illuminated. “I have no idea who is coming,” he tells the cameras. “Like, literally, no idea.” The pro athlete is then separately greeted by five strangers.
“It’s been about 12 years since I’ve last seen you,” one man tells the Miami Heat star. “I come from an area where not too many people make it.”
Another woman holding a cap and gown explains to him: “It was always my dream that I’d get the chance to go to college, but we just didn’t have the money.”
A second woman walks onto the court and begins talking about her sibling, stating, “You mean so much to us. My brother, Joaquin, loved you from the beginning. He passed away in Parkland on February 14. He was one of the 17 victims.”
The basketball great is then greeted by a third woman, who tells him how her house burned down 10 days before Christmas, causing her and her family to lose all of their belongings.
The final “stranger” turns out to be Wayde’s own mother, Jolinda, who is carrying a garment in her arms. “You were the joy of my life, but I was dropping the ball,” she tells him, her voice shaking. Jolinda then mentions her own history with addiction and references her multiple stints in prison, which she didn’t think she would “ever” come back from. “On that road, I noticed you kept showing up and you’d come and see about me. And Dwyane, because you believed in me, when I got out of prison, I was a different woman.”
While Jolinda didn’t have a jersey to hand off to her son, she did present him with a purple robe that he had previously given to her when he bought her a church.
One by one, the other strangers followed suit and presented the Olympic athlete with clothing items of their own. The man who hadn’t seen Wade in a dozen years handed him a blazer (the same one he wore on his first job interview) while the woman who couldn’t afford college proudly handed over her cap and gown.
The sister of the Parkland victim gifted Wade with a jersey that had belonged to her late brother, explaining, “This is important because Joaquin wore this in his last championship. My family wanted you to have it.”
As Jolinda explains: “I am more proud of the man you have become than the basketball player,” she said. “You are bigger than basketball.”
Since its release earlier this week, the heartwarming commercial has already garnered more than 3.7 million views on YouTube. It even got a response from Wade’s wife, Gabrielle Union, who was moved to tears. “Bigger Than Basketball. So much bigger than basketball. Man, this captures so much of what @DwyaneWade means to people,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “I’m also bawling.”For all the inside details on the biggest celebrity stories and scoop this week, subscribe to our new podcast "Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood" below!
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