A local admirer paid a visit to the phenomenal young human beings from Stoneman Douglas High School today. Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade dropped by the Parkland high school rocked by a tragic mass shooting last month to pay his respects and raise spirits, and the kids... well, the kids were pretty excited about it:
Wade forged a particularly strong connection with Stoneman Douglas when he discovered that one of the victims, Joaquin Oliver, was such a big fan that his parents buried him in Wade's jersey. After hearing about Oliver's parents decision, Wade was very emotional and said he was dedicating the season to Oliver, and inscribed his name on the sneakers he wore in the next game—a game in which he hit the game-winner with five seconds left.
Wade later met up with Oliver's family, prior to the Heat's March 3 game against the Pistons. He gave the family a custom jersey—one that Oliver wanted—along with custom shoes that featured Joaquin's name and the Stoneman Douglas logo.
Wade said on Saturday, per the Broward County-based Sun-Sentinel:
"I'm thankful they came to the game, thankful I got a chance just to talk to them and tell them my appreciation, to let them know we will continue to use our voice, to continue to shine the light on what they're talking about and what they're going through and what they're dealing with. Because it's not just happening to them, it's happening to all of us and it could be anyone of us."
On Wednesday, Wade gave a speech in a packed cafeteria, and expressed his gratitude, hinting at his support for all of the work students are doing in advocating for gun policy change:
"I just wanted to come and say I'm inspired by all of you. As someone out here in the public eye, I am proud to say I'm from this state—because of you guys, because of the future of this world, because of you guys. I just say, 'thank you, man.' MSD Strong, all the way, right?"