Videos honoring Dwyane Wade’s final game in Miami had social media talking


Tuesday was likely Dwyane Wade‘s final home game for the Miami Heat.

The veteran guard is retiring after this season, and thus the fans at American Airlines Arena will never see him don a Heat uniform in South Florida again.

Wade has been on a farewell tour the entire season, exchanging jerseys with players on opposing teams at the conclusion of each game. Emotions are running high as the year comes to a close with the Heat about to miss the postseason.

On Tuesday, ahead of Wade’s final game in Miami, two videos were released as tribute to his Hall of Fame career. Unfortunately, and oddly, both were advertisements.

In the first — widely disseminated Tuesday morning — Wade is shown speaking to people who have been affected by his charitable work. They include, among others, his mother, a benefactor of a scholarship, and the relative of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim.

This video, which uses the plight and genuine generosity experienced between Wade and his community, exists to sell Budweiser. And because of that, it’s an odd, emotionally complicated piece of media.

On one hand, there’s the genuine emotional response these people had while talking to Wade about how he affected their lives. Seeing a visual impact of charity in this manner is no doubt powerful, even if you already understood the extent of Wade’s communal giving already.

But as these moments happened between Wade and his constituents, there is also a big blaring BUDWEISER sign in the background. It’s distracting, off-putting, and a reminder of the weird capitalist no man’s land that exists as a separation of the public from the human beings that are sports figures. Every player is, in fact, a brand, and this ad makes that abundantly clear.

Via Twitter:

Perhaps less egregious was the special video involving Wade’s son Zaire. Played before the game, Zaire goes through a remaking of one of Wade’s famous commercials from earlier in his dad’s career.

This is the NBA, and this is the job of players. The idea of brands and sponsors being pertinent at every step of the way isn’t groundbreaking.

But for every mustachioed, orange beanie-capped, clear-rimmed glasses-wearing marketing goober calling themselves a “storyteller” — and there are plenty where I live here in Portland — there’s a constant blurring of the line between what’s acceptable to use in selling a product.

No doubt all these folks were willing participants in the ad, and grateful for Wade’s acts, but something doesn’t sit right with it being out in front of everyone for the purpose of selling… Budweiser. We’re meant to conflate the idea of Wade’s charity having anything to do with drinking a certain label of alcohol, and that’s just factually not relevant.

It’s gross, frankly. It’s not tear-jerking, even if we do have a greater respect for how Wade has changed the lives of those folks and by implication, many more. Wade’s career ending is a momentous occasion, and we can enjoy it separate of corporate sponsorship.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points


Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.