Miami Heat hoop star Dwyane Wade vowed on Monday to speak out for those who can no longer be heard after he learned that Florida school shooting victim Joaquin Oliver had been buried in Wade’s basketball jersey.
Oliver, 17, was an avid follower of the Miami Heat, and excited that Wade had left the Cleveland Cavaliers and returned to Miami early this month. The teen had immigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela when he was a toddler and had become an American citizen the year before a gunman killed him and 16 other people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
Oliver’s parents told the Al Punto talk show on Sunday that their son had been buried in Wade’s jersey.
“You’re about to make me cry,” Wade tweeted when he learned the news.
Wade followed with other tweets on Monday, writing, “we are the voices for the people that don’t get to be heard.”
Wade dedicated his season to Oliver, and tweeted: “This is why we will not just SHUT up and dribble!”
He was referring to a comment from Fox News host Laura Ingraham about NBA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Earlier this month, the pair posted a video in which James said that President Donald Trump doesn’t “give a fuck about the people.” Ingraham said the players should “shut up and dribble,” and James replied by vowing to continue talking about “what’s really important.”
You “hurt for the family … 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,” Wade told reporters about Oliver after practice on Monday.
“It’s emotional even thinking … that his parents felt that burying him in my jersey is something that he wanted,” he said. “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 it.”
Wade, who describes himself on his Twitter page as a “father first,” added: “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.”
On Saturday, at the Miami Heat’s first home game since the shooting, the team held a pregame tribute to the victims and survivors. Players and coaches of the Heat and rival Memphis Grizzlies held the high school’s flag while the scoreboard played a commemorative video.
“We honor the 17 lives that were tragically lost in Parkland,” Wade said at the tribute. “We applaud the fearless students that are fighting for their lives. We will also make sure that their voices are heard around gun safety. You are our nation’s inspiration. We salute you and we support you.”