Dwyane Wade was touched when he found out that Joaquin Oliver, a victim of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was buried in his Miami Heat jersey. Wade, who returned to the Heat just days before the Feb. 14 attack, made it a special task to get one of the backordered “Vice” edition jerseys for Oliver’s family.
This weekend, Wade was able to give it to them.
Wade stood next to Joaquin’s sister, Andrea Ghersi, during pregame introductions, and after the Heat took on the Detroit Pistons at American Airlines Arena on Saturday, Wade met with Joaquin’s parents, Manuel and Patricia. Wade gave the family a pair of specially-made shoes, complete with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas nameplate and straps with Joaquin’s name on them.
Wade also gave the Olivers the special edition jersey, spending some time speaking with them.
“I had somebody design them,” Wade said of the shoes that sat by his locker before Saturday’s game. “I gave them to the family with that jersey. It’s hard to get that jersey. I know they said he wanted that jersey when I first got back to add it to his collection of jerseys that he had. I reached out to a good friend of mine to customize those shoes. I made sure I gave them to the family.”
“Just getting an opportunity to finally meet them, I had a few words, what they’re doing, the strength of them,” he said by his locker stall. “It’s a tough time for their family. It’s a tough time for a lot of families in Parkland.
“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.”
Wade is a pillar in the Miami community, even after spending time with both the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. His return to the Heat was announced to major fanfare, with his Vice edition jersey experiencing huge production delays that currently span out into the summer.
That he was there to take the lead was no surprise to anyone. Good for Wade for stepping up, making that connection, and helping in any way he could during the grieving process for that family.
Wade has dedicated the rest of the season to Joaquin Oliver’s memory.