Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade is playing the final games of his career. On Monday night, he used his platform to honor the late Nipsey Hussle.
“I mean very shocking,” Wade commented. “Obviously a tragedy, especially when it hits close to home. One of my good friends is his partner, Lauren London. So it definitely was, for me and my family, it was very shocking to hear the news. And then you think about the kids, you think about his kids, you think about his family. That’s immediately what you go to. Your heart goes out to his family and his young kids that he has.”
Wade’s respect for Hussle stems from Hussle’s advocacy to curtail gun violence in Chicago, where Wade is from. Despite keeping an off-season home in Los Angeles, where Hussle was from, Wade stated he did not have a personal relationship with Hussle. Despite the fact that Wade did not know Hussle personally, Wade did not stop his tribute with his comments on Monday.
Prior to the Heat taking the court against the Celtics, looking to hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Wade wrote a message on his custom Way of Wade brand game shoes to honor Hussle.
The message says, “Nipsey Hussle Rest in Heaven.” Wade wearing custom Way of Wade shoes is a common occurrence for the 37-year-old NBA veteran, but writing messages on them has been rare. Hussle’s death put a damper on what was Wade’s final game at TD Garden, where fans gave him a standing ovation when he checked in. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge also presented Wade with a piece of the 2008 parquet floor prior to the game. Ainge also jokingly said he forgave Wade for injuring the elbow of then-Celtics guard Rajon Rondo. After Monday night’s game, the Heat will have only five regular season games left, though Wade will likely be on the postseason roster should Miami qualify. Entering play on Monday night, the Heat held a half-game lead over the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed.
Hussle, who was 33, was shot in the head and torso on Sunday afternoon in front of his store, Marathon Clothing in southern Los Angeles. A native of south Los Angeles and a self-identified former gang member, it’s suspected that the shooting of Hussle may have been gang-related. Another police source has denoted that Hussle may have known his killer.
NBA players weren’t the only ones demonstrating grief over Hussle’s murder. Members of the community he worked in along with fellow musicians were part of the mourning crowd as well. Hussle will be fondly remembered by fans of his music and those in communities he impacted in positive ways. Wade and other NBA players are a part of those groups, with Wade taking every opportunity afforded him to bring attention to the work Hussle was doing.