Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade paid a surprise visit to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Wednesday morning, meeting with students and teachers and posing for photos.
Wade told the students that they were inspiring to him. He punctuated his brief remarks with ‘MSD Strong all the way’ – which was met with a loud roar.
Wade has worn the name of shooting victim Joaquin Oliver on his game sneakers for the past several games.
Surprise guest: NBA player Dwyane Wade visits Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday to meet with students after the February 14 shooting
High five: Wade talked to students and posed for pictures in the school cafeteria at lunchtime
The NBA star was reduced to tears last week after learning that Oliver was buried in a replica of his No 3 Heat jersey, and Wade met privately with the boy’s parents last weekend to thank them and ask how he can help going forward.
Videos uploaded on social media showed the 6-foot-4 basketball powerhouse making his way through hallways buzzing with excited students.
‘I just wanted to come here today and hopefully for a moment, for a second, bring a little bit of this,’ he said into a microphone, addressing a crowded lunchroom. ‘Bring a little excitement, bring a little joy. What you guys have been going through and how resilient you have been has been amazing from afar.
‘Inspired’: Addressing a crowded cafeteria, Wade told the students that he came by hoping bring a little excitement and joy and said he was inspired by them
Popular: The 6-foot-4 basketball player made his way through crowds of excited students clutching their cellphone and documenting the unusual visit
The NBA star chatted with kids and stopped for selfies along the way
Following his visit, Wade, 36, took to Twitter, writing that he had ‘a great conversation with some of the students; in Parkland
‘I just wanted to come and say I’m inspired by you. As someone out here in the public eye, I’m proud to say I’m from this state, because of you guys, because of the future of this world, because of you guys.’
Following his visit, Wade, 36, took to Twitter, writing that he had ‘a great conversation with some of the students at Stoneman Douglas High School about some important/impactful things that they have planned. I’m looking forward to being more involved in the change that they WILL create. #MSDStrong’
In a follow-up tweet, the Heat player praised the Parkland students, saying ‘these young adults GET IT. They understand the power of their voices for the ones that often go unheard!’
Wade tweeted this impassioned message after learning about his slain fan Joaquin Oliver
Special tribute: Wade has worn Oliver’s name written on his game sneakers for the past several games (left and right)
Wade has dedicated the rest of his season to shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, who was excited about his recent return to Miami and was laid to rest in his Heat jersey.
‘You hurt for the family,’ Wade told reporters. ‘It’s emotional even thinking about that, that his parents felt that burying him in my jersey is something that he wanted. 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.’
A few days later, Wade honored the slain boy by wearing custom-made Nike sneakers with the teenager’s name written on them against the Philadelphia 76ers.