Dwyane Wade is not the same player he used to be, but Miami Heat fans were very excited to see him come back on February 8 at the NBA trade deadline. One such fan was Joaquin Oliver, a student who was later killed during the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. On Monday, Oliver's parents revealed that their son was buried in Wade's Heat jersey.
Later on Monday, Wade elaborated on his emotions, telling reporters that "You really can't put that in words. You hurt for the family." Wade also said it was because of the connection they can make with fans like Oliver that NBA players would not "shut up and dribble"—a reference to Fox News host Laura Ingraham's ad hominem attack on LeBron James—when it comes to important political discussions.
This all happened on Monday, but the Heat were not in action until Tuesday night, against the Philadelphia 76ers. In Wade's first opportunity to make good on his dedication, he had Oliver's name written on his shoes, and hit the game-winning shot.
After the game, Wade again emphasized the importance of athletes connecting with fans and the community, and said he was just giving "due respect" to Oliver and his family.
"From the standpoint of away from the game of basketball, as I continue saying, just understanding how important we are as professionals," Wade said. "And for me, it's just giving whatever I can to people who believe in me, and especially people who were happy about me coming back here [after the trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this month] who embrace me the way that I only can dream of with me coming back home. So just paying some due respect to [Oliver] and his family tonight."
Wade hit the shot with 5.9 seconds left. J.J. Redick had a chance to win it for Philly with a three at the buzzer, but he missed and the Heat held on to win 102-101.