Dwyane Wade 'can't put into words' that Parkland shooting victim was buried in his jersey
From NBA Twitter and media reports
Update: Dwyane Wade honored Parkland shooting victim Joaquin Oliver before Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers with Oliver’s name on his sneakers. Wade scored a game-high 27 and nailed the game-winning shot.
The Miami Heat have stood beside the South Florida community in the wake of the Feb. 14 shootings at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Among the players doing so is Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who led the team in a moment of silence in honor of the 17 victims prior to last Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
On Monday after the Heat’s practice, Wade addressed news regarding the death of one shooting victim in particular: 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver. His parents revealed that their son was buried Feb. 17 in Wade’s No. 3 Heat jersey, a decision they discussed on the Univision talk show Al Punto. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Oliver became a naturalized citizen on January 2017, a few months after Wade had left the Heat via free agency to sign with the Chicago Bulls.
Wade was bought out of his contract by the Bulls last summer and signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who traded him back to Miami on the Feb. 8 deadline. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Wade’s return to the Heat came just six days before Oliver, who moved to the United State when he was age 3, was gunned down.
Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel has more from Wade, who was emotional over the news:
“You really can’t put that in words,” Wade said in a measured tone while seated at the west end of the team’s practice court on the second level of AmericanAirlines Arena. “You hurt for the family and if you’re able to get an opportunity to speak to them, you just try to hope that the time where he was alive, that you were able to bring some form of joy to his life and something memorable, a story that you guys can talk about.
“I don’t even know the word for it. Like I re-tweeted on Twitter, I said, ‘You’re going to make me cry.’ It’s emotional even thinking about that, that his parents felt that burying him in my jersey is something that he wanted. I take a lot of pride in what I’ve done in this state and what I’ve meant for the youth, so I appreciate that.”
Wade was asked if it made him realize how much he meant to some people, particularly in South Florida, where he emerged from being the Heat’s first-round NBA draft choice in 2003 to helping lead the franchise to its three NBA championships.
“I definitely always said, my life has always been bigger than basketball,” he said. “Playing here and being able to do some of the things I’ve done on the court, and I think off the court just as equally has helped that for sure.
“My mom always told me that my life was bigger than basketball. And I always carry that around by the way I try to treat people. I treat them the way that I want to be treated or the way I want my kids to be treated. I also understand the position that I’m in. God has given me this unbelievable opportunity to play at this level, and I understand what comes with that from a role model standpoint.”
You’re about to make me cry this afternoon https://t.co/rWFsQcxlYc
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) February 25, 2018
On Saturday, Wade took the microphone before the Heat-Grizzlies game to share some words before the moment of silence:
“Tonight we honor the 17 lives that were tragically lost in Parkland,” Wade said to the crowd. “We applaud the fearless students that are fighting for their lives. We also make sure that their voices are heard around gun safety. You are our nation’s inspiration. We salute you and we support you.”
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