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Dwyane Wade continued to honor the memory of 17-year-old Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim,Joaquin Oliver. Oliver was one of 17 students who were killed in a mass shooting at the Parkland, Fla. high school on Feb. 14.
Joaquin, known as “Guac” to his friends, became a U.S. citizen last year. His story caught the attention of Wade when it was revealed that he idolized the Miami Heat star and was buried in his jersey.
During an appearance on Univision’s Al Punto, his father, Manuel explained how ecstatic Joaquin was on the day Wade re-signed with the Miami Heat.
“Joaquin called me at the office and said ‘Dad, guess who’s coming back? Guess who is coming home?,” Oliver told Univision. “ [I thought] ‘I don’t know. Maybe an aunt from Venezuela?’ [He said] ‘Wade is coming back!’ I need that jersey!’”
Wade etched Oliver’s name on his sneakers with a pen before Tuesday’s matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers. He then invited Oliver’s parents to attend Saturday’s game as his guests and went a step further by giving them custom made Way of the Wade sneakers for the Oliver family with “Joaquin Oliver” printed across the back flap and “Stoneman Douglas” emblazoned across the front.
Wade’s mother, Jolinda Wade, who is a pastor at New Creation Church in Chicago, also became emotional upon learning about the impact Wade had on Oliver’s life, per the Palm Beach Post.
“They said he was crying,” said Wade’s mother, Jolinda Wade. “And, oh my God, he loved my son. He loved Dwyane. The father found out he was talking about Dwyane, Dwyane was back.
“Dwyane made some type of very deep impression on his life.”
Jolinda Wade echoed Dwayne’s reaction after meeting with the Oliver family.
“My mom appreciated Joaquin’s family respecting me the way they have. I think it meant a lot to my mom. She wanted to go, understanding the family is grieving right now to give them some form of something, whatever it was, words, or anything. I thought it was great. Before she left [back to Chicago] she got a chance to do that. We’re trying to do things not only for their family, but also the other 16 lives that were lost.”
The Olivers tried to outfit Joaquin for his burial with the Vice edition jersey he wanted, but were unable to do so in time because it’s high demand has it on back order for fans until July.
Via Miami Herald:
“So he wore the one he had that day [of the funeral],” Patricia Oliver said.
Said Manuel: “He would have loved it. I would’ve loved to get it [the new jersey] for him, but we didn’t have time.”
However, in addition to the custom Way of Wade sneakers, Wade ordered one of the Vice jerseys for the Oliver family on Saturday.
Joaquin’s death hit close to home for Wade, who recently lost his agent Henry Thomas. It was at Thomas’ funeral that he allegedly re-connected with Pat Riley. That shared experience and Oliver’s memory has had a profound impact on Wade.
“Even though the game has brought certain people to admire me, this definitely makes it bigger than that. [What they did burying their son in my jersey] I don’t even know how to put it into words or thought at all.” Wade said after the game. “In a tough moment for a family, there’s so many decisions that you have to make. And for me to be a part of that — that he would have wanted to be buried in my jersey — that’s mind-boggling to me.”
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