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Dwyane Wade ’emotional’ after hearing of Parkland shooting victim buried in his jersey

Miami’s Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade, right, bow their heads during a pregame ceremony honoring the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (Gaston De Cardenas/Associated Press)

Dwyane Wade is in his 14th season as a member of the Miami Heat, and he is almost universally regarded as the greatest player in franchise history, so he’s used to hearing about people in South Florida wearing his jersey. However, the tale of one young man’s affinity for his favorite NBA player left Wade “emotional” and near tears.

That young man was Joaquin Oliver, who was one of the 17 people killed in the Parkland, Fla., shootings on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and who was buried in his Wade jersey.

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Oliver’s parents spoke about the loss of their son recently on an Univision talk show, and after hearing about it, Wade said Sunday on Twitter that he was about to “cry.” Before a Heat practice Monday, Wade said it was “emotional even thinking about that.”

“You really can’t put that in words,” Wade said (via 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.

“I don’t even know the word for it. Like I retweeted on Twitter, I said, ‘You’re going to make me cry.’ It’s emotional even thinking about that, that his parents felt that burying him in my jersey is something that he wanted.”

Wade, a first-round pick by the Heat in 2003 who was instrumental in all three of the teams’ NBA championships, was asked whether episodes such as this made him realize how much he meant to people in South Florida. “My mom always told me that my life was bigger than basketball,” he replied. “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.

“I also understand the position that I’m in. God has given me this unbelievable opportunity to play at this level, and I understand what comes with that from a role-model standpoint.”

Wade echoed those comments later in the day on Twitter, while also referring to the “shut up and dribble” criticism recently leveled at LeBron James, his good friend and former teammate, and Kevin Durant by Fox News’s Laura Ingraham. The 12-time all-star, who returned to the Heat earlier this month in a trade from James’s Cavaliers, posted a photo of Oliver and said he was dedicating the rest of his season to the slain 17-year-old.

For the rest of the season, Heat players will wear an “MSD” patch on their uniforms to honor the victims at Douglas High. Before a home game Saturday against the Grizzlies, a ceremony was held in which members of Miami and Memphis stood together on the court, helping hold a large banner bearing the high school’s name and logo, “as a symbol of unity in the wake of the events that shook our community to its foundation.”

Holding a microphone, Wade then stepped forward and addressed the crowd at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, located about 50 miles south of Douglas High. “Tonight we honor the 17 lives that were tragically lost in Parkland,” he said. “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​.”

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