Dwyane Wade's Mom Pays Tribute To Son For Loyalty During Addiction Battle

By Victoria Kim 04/11/19
In a commercial marking his achievements off the basketball court, the NBA star's mother thanks her son for never giving up on her at her lowest.
Dwyane and Jolinda Wade
Dwyane and Jolinda Wade Photo via YouTube

Dwyane Wade played his final game in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday. The NBA star, who led the Miami Heat to their first NBA Championship in franchise history, is retiring at 37.

Behind Wade’s success is his mother Jolinda. In a new Budweiser commercial marking Wade’s retirement, she thanks Wade for the impact he’s had on her life. Jolinda, an ordained Baptist minister, came a long way from her life as a chronic drug-using, struggling mother on the south side of Chicago.

“When you bought your mother that church, you don’t even understand the lives that you changed,” she said. 


Wade gave his mother her own church in 2008, symbolizing her redemption from her past. “I respect my mother so much, from the life that she used to live and to see her today in the life that she lives. I’m so proud of her,” Wade said at the time. “Everybody thinks I’m the miraculous story in the family. I think she is. I think what I’ve done means I’ve been very blessed, but she’s been more than blessed. She’s been anointed.”

Growing up, Wade and his siblings witnessed their mother use and sell drugs, abuse alcohol, and disappear for “long periods.”

“We would sit on the porch some nights, hoping she would just walk around that corner,” Wade said in a past interview with Oprah Winfrey. “I kept my ear to the window, hoping I heard her voice or I’d walk myself, hoping to see her.”

Tragil Wade, Dwyane’s older sister, helped raise her brother in their mother’s absence. She recalled fearing the worst whenever she’d hear about someone dying in nearby abandoned buildings. “I can’t even tell you what it was like,” she said in 2008 at the opening of her mother’s church. “It’s beyond words.”

Jolinda’s addictions landed her in jails, halfway houses and foreclosed homes, according to the Washington Post. She once nearly died from shooting up an unknown substance.

“You were the joy of my life. But I was dropping the ball,” Jolinda says to Wade in the commercial.

In 1994, she was arrested for possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell. She recalled the flurry of emotions she felt when her son came to visit her in jail. “I seen the look on his face, like ‘Why is my mama behind there? What’s going on?’ He did not understand why I was behind that glass, and I was so mad.”

Jolinda continued on this path until 2001, when she finally had a change of heart during a church service with her daughter Tragil. At the time, she was on the run after vacating her jail sentence during a work-release program. Wade was a sophomore playing basketball at Marquette University. Jolinda turned herself in, and was released after serving nine months in prison.

While she was in prison, she became a devout Christian and dreamed of being a pastor.

In the commercial, Jolinda thanks her son for never giving up on her.

“That day that I just couldn’t do it no more was the day that I was going to have to turn myself in. And I seen the tears just fall from your eyes. Your mama went down a road, Dwyane, that I didn’t ever think I’d come back from. But on that road, I noticed you kept showing up. And you’d come and see about me. And because you believed in me, when I got out of prison I was a different woman.”

In his interview with Oprah, Wade described the respect that he had for his mother, no matter what she was going through.

“I never gave up on her. Never blamed her. Because that was her life, her journey, her path. Without that path, I’m not who I am today.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr