On April 9, 2019, the Miami Heat will host the Philadelphia 76ers in a must-win regular season game. Sitting outside of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Miami needs to beat Philly, then defeat the Brooklyn Nets the following night, plus get some help in order to reach the postseason. All that pressure comes second to the real story behind Miami's last home game of the year, though.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade will step onto the court for what could be the final time inside AmericanAirlines Arena. "Flash" is the greatest athlete to ever represent Miami, Florida. The 13-time All-Star and three-time NBA champion will go down as one of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history, and his emotional final season has been an incredible ride.
Throughout the year, Wade has exchanged jerseys with NBA heroes like LeBron James, James Harden, Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons, Paul George, and Dirk Nowitzki, who is also expected to retire after this season. But Wade's most emotional jersey swaps didn't even happen on an NBA court.
To honor the legend and all he's done off of the basketball court, Budweiser created a four-minute tribute video titled "This Bud's for 3." In the video, Wade meets five people whose lives were changed as a direct result of Dwyane Wade the man, not Dwyane Wade the future NBA Hall of Fame basketball player.
I didn't make it three minutes without welling up in tears.
One woman lost her home in a fire 10 days before Christmas. Dwyane Wade took their family on a shopping spree. She gave him a personalized shirt with a crown on it.
One man "came from an area where not too many people make it." Wade's words of encouragement changed his life 12 years ago, and he made it out. He gifted Wade the blazer he wore to his first job interview.
One girl wasn't able to afford getting a college education. Wade's full-tuition scholarship sent her to school. She gave him the cap and gown she wore at graduation.
One person was the sister of Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 people killed at the Parkland High School shooting in Florida. Wade dedicated his 2018 season to the family and wrote Oliver's name on his shoes. His sister gave Wade Joaquin's No. 3 basketball jersey, the last one he wore before being killed.
The fifth person was Wade's mother, JoLinda, whose battle with crack cocaine and addiction lasted years. Wade stood by her side through it all and bought her a church in Chicago back in 2008. She gifted her son a purple jacket, signifying the royalty that he brought to everyone's lives he touched.
All of them wrote Wade personal messages, thanking him for changing their lives.
On Tuesday night, there's going to be an emotional tribute the final time Wade walks off the floor. The NBA star has given more to the game than most NBA players can ever dream. Wade is truly one of the great NBA legends of our time, and you can be sure the Heat star's legacy will stand the test of time for all he's done, both on and off of the basketball court.
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