Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade made a surprise appearance on Sunday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s class of 2019 graduation ceremony.
Wade’s connection to Stoneman Douglas is rooted in tragedy. One of the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting – Joaquin Oliver – was a huge fan of D-Wade.
Oliver was buried in a jersey bearing Wade’s name.
At the ceremony, Wade was greeted to loud cheers. Among topics, he spoke about the Parkland tragedy and his visit to the school soon after the shooting.
“I remember being so nervous to see and meet everybody. What would I say? I mean, I grew up in the inner city of Chicago and I’ve experienced a lot of awful things, but I’ve never experienced anything to the magnitude that you guys have just experienced,” Wade said.
“I remember walking in … and actually being surprised that everyone was excited to see me,” Wade added.
Wade spent more than two hours at the school, giving an impromptu pep talk in the cafeteria and meeting with small groups of students who were directly impacted by the shooting and others who have been active in the #NeverAgain movement against gun violence.
“I just 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,” Wade wrote on Twitter on March 7, 2018 – the first full day back to school since the shooting.
“He came, he put a lot of smiles on everyone’s faces and it was something I think our school really needed,” student Jonathan Blank said.
Wade retired from the NBA after 16 years – the vast majority of which while wearing a Miami Heat jersey – in 2019.