“D. Wade: Life Unexpected,” a new feature documentary from ESPN Films and Imagine Documentaries, will debut on Sunday, February 23, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film, directed and executive produced by Wade’s long-time friend and cinematographer Bob Metelus, chronicles three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade’s experience on and off the court as he enters into his final year in the league, and reflects on personal and professional victories and set-backs throughout his legendary career. The film includes scenes from hundreds of hours of never-before-seen home movies, exclusive video diaries, and all-access verité footage shot over the last decade. Imagine Documentaries’ President Justin Wilkes and EVP Sara Bernstein produced the film alongside Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, as well as with Academy-Award nominated and Emmy Winning producer, Sam Pollard.
Metelus has had unparalleled access to Wade’s life behind-the-scenes for years. With a tremendous archive, the film explores elements of Wade’s world through his dynamic basketball career and his personal journey, documenting his meteoric rise from Marquette student to global icon, 13-time NBA All-Star and Olympic champion. Through candid home movies and Metelus’ fly-on-the-wall verité footage, Wade takes the audience on a tour through his celebrated career, his deeply personal family struggles and his role as a husband and father all while navigating his final year in the league.
“Bob’s film is a raw, intimate and unfiltered look at not only a super-star athlete, but a father, son and husband who’s continuously risen above life’s challenges to create a better world for himself and those closest to him,” says Wilkes.
Beginning with intimate details about his life growing up in Chicago, continuing on through his emergence as a star at Marquette and then with the Miami Heat, the documentary covers every chapter of Wade’s path. From dealing with drug raids on his house as a young child; to becoming a father as a college sophomore; to the long and painful custody battle for his children years later; as well as his relationship with his wife, actress Gabrielle Union-Wade and the challenges they’ve encountered; and embracing his child Zion’s gender identity, the film does not shy away from the difficult topics. With exclusive behind-the-scenes basketball footage – including extensive coverage of the free agency drama of 2010 and the moment Wade learned LeBron James was joining the Heat – plus interviews with pivotal figures from his life and career including Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Pat Riley, Gabrielle Union-Wade, the film is a memorable look back at one of the defining careers of this generation.
“I’m excited to share a side of myself with the world that not many people may know,” said Wade. “This deeply personal documentary will give fans a never-before seen look not only at the behind-the-scenes of my sixteen 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.”
“Having had the opportunity to bear witness to Dwyane’s career over the years has been a privilege, and I’m honored to have been granted access to capture these powerful moments on and off the court during his journey,” said Metelus. “This is an honest, raw depiction of a truly inspirational man, and I’m thrilled to be able to share Dwyane’s story as a three-time NBA Champion, but also as a father, husband, businessman, philanthropist, style icon and friend.”