When Tom Brady stacked his Audi-supplied A8 in 2010, the German automaker found itself with some explaining to do. Inquiring minds wanted to know why Audi would provide a free car to an athlete who could afford to buy any ride he wanted.

Publicity was the answer, of course, and Audi justified the semi-permanent loaner car by saying it was for Brady’s work with multiple charities in New England. Whatever the reason, this much is clear: being associated with pro athletes helps high-end manufacturers sell cars.

Sometimes, it’s not the manufacturer who gifts a car to a high-profile client. As the duPont Registry tells us, Miami Heat shooting guard Dwayne Wade was recently given a new McLaren MP4-12C by a local dealership, in honor of Wade’s 30th birthday.

The Coral Gables dealership, The Collection, considers Wade a “brand ambassador,” which is why it even went to the expense of hiring a rigging company to deliver the $230,000 sports car atop the hotel pool where Wade’s birthday bash was held.

Wade is the 18th best-paid player in the NBA, earning a salary of $15,512,000 per year (not counting endorsement deals). That kind of money buys a sizable automobile collection, and we’re sure that the gift will inspire future purchases from the dealership by Wade.

Sometimes to make money, you need to spend a bit, too.