Dwyane Wade inspired and excited million of fans during his legendary 16-year NBA career.
The future Hall of Famer delivered countless thrills along the way — buzzer-beating shots and timely steals, great passes and hard-to-make blocks.
But perhaps his biggest assists have occurred off the court as surprises.
On Sunday, Wade arrived at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, as the commencement address speaker for the Class of 2019. The students didn’t know in advance.
The students, of course, knew who he was. Dwyane Wade had visited Marjory Stoneham Douglas High in the aftermath of a horrific school shooting spree on Valentine’s Day 2018. Seventeen people were killed at the school that day. Wade was at the school weeks later on the first day that it reopened. That day, too, he arrived at the school without the students being told in advance.
“I’m so proud to say the words ‘MSD Strong,'” Wade said on Sunday. “Today, you will close a chapter in your lives and embark on new experiences and journeys and memories. And it’s a time to celebrate and be proud of everything you’ve done to make it to this moment. As you know, I, too, recently closed a pretty significant chapter in my life. So in a way I feel like I can relate to what’s going on in your minds right now.”
It’s been widely reported that one of the shooting victims, a student named Joaquin Oliver, was a big Wade fan. As a result, he was buried in a Wade jersey.
Wade commended the students for their grassroots efforts to combat gun violence.
“What I loved and appreciated most is that you all became advocates,” he told the graduating students. “You became the faces and the voices for kids all around the world. I’m so proud to say the words MSD strong.”
Dwyane Wade also said this: “My life is bigger than basketball, and that’s why I asked to come to Marjory Stoneman Douglas — to be whatever was needed of me…”