MIAMI — Dwyane Wade still plans to do plenty of talking about the need for societal change, a quest that became even more personal for him after one of his cousins was shot and killed last month on a Chicago street.
Talk, he knows, isn’t enough.
“Actions,” he said, “speak louder than words.”
So Wade took action on Saturday morning. Back in Miami — his former home, the city where he played for the first 13 years of his NBA career — Wade hopped on a bicycle for a six-mile ride through the streets to promote unity. Alongside him were Miami police officers, who quickly threw their support behind the event when Wade came up with the idea.
“I really reached out to the police department for them to be a part of this, to really drive home unity with the police as well in the community,” said Wade, who had hundreds of fans and supporters wake up early to join him as well. “I think today was a good step in the right direction for everyone who came out here.”
He was joined on the ride by former Heat teammate Udonis Haslem. Wade and Haslem played for all three Heat teams that won NBA championships.
“He’s always going to be a part of my situation, I’m always going to be a part of his situation and he’s always going to be a part for Miami,” Haslem said. “He’s done a lot for this city. He’s done a lot for this city, he’s done a lot for me, so we appreciate him and no matter where he is or where he goes we will continue to support him because we’re family.”
Even though Wade is changing teams, he’s in no hurry to close the Miami chapter of his life.
He’s squeezing in some Miami time before his first training camp with the Chicago Bulls opens later this month. He went to a birthday party on Thursday for a longtime friend and associate, was back in his former home arena on Friday for a concert and then was welcomed by plenty of Wade-shirt-wearing Heat fans on Saturday.
“This community’s been a part of me for 13 years and if it’s a part of you for that long, it’s a part of you forever,” Wade said. “So I always want to do what I can in different ways to help uplift certain communities that have been special and important to me.”
He arranged for a billboard to go up near downtown Miami in recent days with a “thank you” message to fans.
“It’s me saying, as humbly as I can, just thank you,” Wade said. “Thank you for 13 years of support and the highs and the lows and everything in between. There’s nothing more I can say but that. … I came here, 21 years old, just to play basketball. Along the way this city just became a part of my family, became a part of me.”
That’s one reason why he said the bike ride — and other unity-promoting events — might be on his agenda for future Miami trips.
“It was really a focal point of ours to make sure that all shapes, sizes, colors get together and enjoy life together,” Wade said. “Just thankful we could do that and do something that I enjoy doing, riding bikes through the community.”