Dwyane Wade played his final NBA game last year, and the Miami Heat wasted no time celebrating their franchise’s best player. Wade played all but two seasons of this 16-year career in Miami, winning three NBA championships in the process. That his number 3 would be retired was a given, but the team went the extra mile with a three-day L3GACY celebration that ended with a screening of a brand-new documentary.
D. Wade: Life Unexpected debuted at the American Airlines Arena yesterday before playing on ESPN that evening. The film is a collection of “hundreds of hours of never-before-seen home movies, exclusive video diaries, and all-access verité footage shot over the last decade.” It’s been a long time coming, in other words, and it touches on subjects dear to basketball fans — “The Decision” gets plenty of attention — and more universal themes.
“This deeply personal documentary will give fans a never-before-seen look not only at the behind-the-scenes of my 16-year career in the NBA, but will peel back the curtain on my personal life – the highs, the lows and everything in between – showing how I created my own path to get to where I am today,” Wade said in a statement.
Miami journalist Ryan Yousefi saw the film early and told fans that they should expect to like Wade, the most beloved figure in Miami sports since Dan Marino, even more after watching.
Just got a chance to pre-screen the Dwyane Wade documentary coming out later this month. All I can say is clear your schedules. However much you love him now, add 25%.
— Ryan Yousefi (@Rizzmiggiz) February 14, 2020
Once they got a chance to see it, pretty much everyone else agreed. The reactions to the film shared online have been overwhelmingly positive, with many viewers praising Wade’s dedication not just to the game of basketball but to fatherhood as well.
The Dwyane Wade documentary was phenomenal. What a career. What a life. What a path. So many touching and incredible moments in the film, but the scenes with his children really got me. There’s nothing like being a parent. Having and giving that love. #LifeUnexpected
— Will Manso (@WillManso) February 24, 2020
I have soooo much respect for @DwyaneWade after watching his documentary #lifeunexpected ..It shows how relatable & human he is. How much work he put in on & off the court. Family life etc. He go through real life problems like the rest of us. Much respect to you #DwayneWade 💪🏾
— Melanin Gawd 🌞 (@TonitheGemini1) February 24, 2020
There were also those who trumpeted the way the film is an intimate portrayal of Wade’s rise from a childhood with a drug-addicted mom to NBA immortality.
Of course @DwyaneWade #LifeUnexpected was great. He has been surrounded by stars all his career and that goes way beyond the court. The film gave us a seat into that and more. An amazing weekend ending with an amazing film. Congrats @lisjoseph @LeshaTweets @DwyaneWade @espn
— Sergio (@SergXman) February 24, 2020
— Queen K (@k_melaninqueen) February 24, 2020
10 years from now my kids will be asking me why we have so many Wade jerseys hanging around the house, that’ll be the moment I dust off the highlight tapes and show them #LifeUnexpected 😢 Love you @DwyaneWade
— All NBA 🅥 (@AllNBATime) February 24, 2020
— Staci Lee Schnell (@StaciSchnell) February 24, 2020
Regardless if you are a basketball fan or don’t know who Dwyane Wade is. I highly recommend that you watch his documentary. Goes to show you that even when life is not doing you any favors that your response to adverse situations will ultimately define you. Never give up🙏🙏
— Bryan Pennington (@813_bryan) February 24, 2020
The Dwayne wade documentary was very inspiring! I really love it and I admired him for true to himself. Shoutout to chi-town own D-wade ✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾#WadeCounty
— FLYBOY 😎 (@malikbeyard) February 24, 2020
— Sejiro (@__Sejiro__) February 24, 2020
— dre (@MotownDR) February 24, 2020
Plenty of others just seemed to really enjoy the movie.
— Bobby, No Flay (@JBeans_15) February 24, 2020
Yo! #DwayneWade Doc was go good! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
— indie5000🎡 (@India_Emani) February 24, 2020
HIGHLY recommend Dwyane Wade’s doc, “D. Wade: Life Unexpected”
— Davis Cribbs (@DavisCribbs) February 24, 2020
— Nello (@LilNello) February 24, 2020
#LifeUnexpected could have been 10 hours long and I would have eaten up every second.
— Alex Potash (@Alex_Potash) February 24, 2020
But the best reactions to the film might have been from students at Richards High School in Chicago, Wade’s alma mater, who got to watch it early and were treated to a surprise appearance from the man himself.
Dwyane Wade gave his high school alma mater a first look at his new doc and made a surprise visit. pic.twitter.com/3B9u6zf4CD
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) February 16, 2020
Any documentary that can get a bunch of high schoolers paying rapt attention at a school assembly must be worth seeing, and the good news is that even if you weren’t able to watch it yesterday you can stream the doc online for both cable and ESPN+ subscribers.