Budweiser Surprised Dwyane Wade With 5 Visitors Whose Lives He Changed for the Better

Fair warning: You'll want to grab a tissue

Dwyane Wade's reaction to 5 surprise visitors.
5 visitors surprised Dwyane Wade with a different spin on the jersey exchange. Budweiser
Headshot of David Griner

Dwyane Wade has spent much of this NBA season, his last in the league, exchanging jerseys with today’s top players. It’s created some touching moments with Wade’s longtime friends and rivals, and now Budweiser is putting an even more emotional spin on Wade’s gesture of respect and appreciation.

In a tear-jerking, 4-minute spot from agency VaynerMedia, Wade is visited by five people—some he knows well, several he doesn’t. Most don’t have jerseys to trade, but they do bring Wade garments with intense emotional significance.

Before we give any more away, you should watch the spot in its entirety:

“We’re honored to raise a Bud to Dwyane Wade to celebrate his legendary NBA career,” says Monica Rustgi, Budweiser marketing vp, in a statement about the new spot. “We take pride in telling the stories that connect sports legends to their fans. While Dwyane Wade is one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball, we wanted to showcase his even-greater impact and legacy off the court.”

The video will be shown in its entirety today at American Airlines Arena before the tipoff of Wade’s last home game in Miami. A 90-second version will air on regional network Fox Sports Sun this week.

Budweiser is no stranger to emotional sendoffs to sports stars, and this one—called “This Bud’s for 3” in reference to Wade’s jersey number—serves as a spiritual successor of sorts to 2017’s “This Bud’s for 2” honoring the Yankees’ retirement of Derek Jeter’s jersey number.

But this spot, featuring Wade’s mother and others he’s inspired and supported through extreme hardship, is obviously even more emotional than the usual parting salutes.

“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 says in a statement. “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.”


Client: Budweiser
Group Vice President, Core & Value: Ricardo Marques
Vice President, Marketing: Monica Rustgi
Senior Brand Director: Madison Pietrowski
Director, Budweiser Sports: Matt Davis
Director, Marketing Communications: Jenna Knoll
Brand Manager: Hayley Kahn

Agency: VaynerMedia, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Steve Babcock
Group Creative Director: Adam Lock
Creative Director: Todd Bradley
Associate Creative Director: Harrison Barron
Art Director: Rafael Sosa
EVP: Nick Miaritis
VP, Group Account Director: Joe Leotta
Account Director: Alex Slavin
Account Executive: Donald Spampinato
Project Manager: Katherine Penland
Agency Executive Producer: Cassandra Reuter
Agency Producer: Chloe Heller

Production: VaynerProducitons
Chief Production Officer: Aaron Kovan
Director: Ritesh Gupta
Director of Photography: Jeff Kim
Executive Producer: Matt Hollis

Editorial: Cutters Studios, New York
Editor: Steve Bell
Assistant Editor: Austin Rauterkus
Executive Producer: Elizabeth Krajewski
Senior Producer: Stephanie Rose

Audio: Cutters Studios, New York
Hunter Berk

Color: The Mill
Colorist: Fergus MCcall

Music: JSM Music

@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."