Dwyane Wade surprises Stoneman Douglas High School graduates

Dwyane Wade surprised the graduating class of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School over the weekend.

The recently retired NBA star was a guest speaker Sunday at the school’s graduation ceremony. He was met with cheers and gave a speech where he recalled how nervous he was to meet students after the on-campus mass shooting last year that killed 17 people.

“I remember walking to the school, and I remember hearing absolutely nothing,” Wade said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’ve never felt … never heard this kind of silence before in my life.’ … I remember being so nervous to see and meet everybody. What would I say? 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.

“What started going through my mind was how do I dare come in here and act like I know what you guys have been going through? How narcissistic of me to think I can come here and make a difference because I’m good at my sport. I remember walking slowly to the cafeteria. As I was walking in, students started seeing me, I remember seeing smiles, people running, pulling out their phones. … I remember thinking, ‘Wow.’ It was packed. I didn’t expect that.”

Wade continued: “I’m so proud to say the words ‘MSD Strong. 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.”

Wade’s visit, like the one the day after the school reopened following the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting, was not made public. 

He has been vocal about that day and remains an advocate for better school safety. Wade even swapped jerseys with one of the shooting victims, Joaquin Oliver, in an emotional tribute before his final game in Miami. 

Wade retired after the 2018-19 season following 16 years in the NBA. He spent the bulk of his career in Miami, a place he said will “forever” be his “home.”