Dwayne Wade returned to the Miami Heat just six days before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14. Little did he know how much of an impact he had already had on one of its victims.
Wade was overcome with emotion learning that Joaquin Oliver—a 17-year-old boy killed during the tragic shooting—was buried in his jersey.
“This is Joaquin Oliver,” Wade wrote on Twitter accompanied with a picture of Oliver. “He was one of the 17 young lives that were lost tragically at Douglas HighSchool in Parkland. Joaquin was one of many that i heard was excited about my return to Miami and yesterday was buried in my jersey. This is why we will not just SHUT up and dribble!”
This is Joaquin Oliver. He was one of the 17 young lives that were lost tragically at Douglas HighSchool in Parkland. Joaquin was one of many that i heard was excited about my return to Miami and yesterday was buried in my jersey. This is why we will not just SHUT up and dribble! pic.twitter.com/X0tfTTao33
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) February 26, 2018
Oliver came to America from Venezuela with his family when he was 3-years old and became a naturalized American citizen in January 2017. This was just a few months after Wade, who had been with the Miami Heat for 13 NBA seasons, left to play for the Chicago Bulls. This season, Wade began with the Cleveland Cavaliers but transitioned back to the Heat just six days prior to the shooting.
Oliver was reportedly a huge Wade fan and was beyond excited about this decision. His parents made the choice to bury him in Wade’s No. 3 Heat jersey.
“You really can’t put that in words,” Wade said to the Sun-Sentinel. “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.”
“It’s emotional even thinking about that, that his parents felt that burying him in my jersey is something that he wanted,” Wade continued. “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 understand the position he is in to be an example in people’s lives, especially kids. “God has given me this unbelievable opportunity to play at this level, and I understand what comes with that from a role-model standpoint,” he said.
Oliver was known as “Guac” amongst his friends, which was reiterated on his personal Instagram page. His interests were sports, football, basketball, and Venezuelan soccer, as well as graffiti and hip-hop.
Prior to Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Heat honored the victims with a video montage and a moment of silence for the 17 lives tragically lost in the Parkland shooting.
“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,” said Wade after the presentation.
The Heat will reportedly play with a “MSD” (Marjory Stoneman Douglas) patch on the left shoulder of their uniforms for the remainder of the season.
Students Fighting Back
Since the deadly school shooting, students are stepping to the forefront of the gun control debate with school walkouts and several marches are scheduled next month.
The Women’s March EMPOWER branch will kick things off with a call for “students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies” to take part in a walkout on March 14. Those participating are encouraged to walk out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes (one minute for each life lost in the massacre), according to NBC News.
The walkout, according to the branch, will “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”
Ten days later, on March 24, students from Parkland, Florida, where the shooting occurred, are planning their own “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C.
The protest, according to its mission statement, will “demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.”
Some students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said that they might not go back to their school at all until the nation takes better action on gun control.