He was just 17.
On Sunday, his parents told Al Punto that Oliver, known by his friends as “Guac,” had been buried in a Wade jersey, a gesture that touched the Heat legend.
You’re about to make me cry this afternoon https://t.co/rWFsQcxlYc
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) February 25, 2018
“You really can’t put that in words,” Wade told the Sun-Sentinel at the team’s practice court on Monday. “You hurt for the family and if you’re able to get an opportunity to speak to them, you just try to hope that the time where he was alive, that you were able to bring some form of joy to his life and something memorable, a story that you guys can talk about.
“I don’t even know the word for it. Like I re-tweeted on Twitter, I said, ‘You’re going to make me cry.’ It’s emotional even thinking about that, that his parents felt that burying him in my jersey is something that he wanted. I take a lot of pride in what I’ve done in this state and what I’ve meant for the youth, so I appreciate that.”
Oliver moved to the United States from Venezuela when he was three years old, and he became a naturalized citizen in 2017.
Twitter user @ghersi_andrea, whose tweets indicate she’s Oliver’s sister, replied to Wade’s tweet with a picture of a signed jersey among memorials to the 17-year-old.
— Andrea Ghersi (@ghersi_andrea) February 25, 2018
“I definitely always said, my life has always been bigger than basketball,” Wade added. “Playing here and being able to do some of the things I’ve done on the court, and I think off the court just as equally has helped that for sure.
“My mom always told me that my life was bigger than basketball. And I always carry that around by the way I try to treat people. I treat them the way that I want to be treated or the way I want my kids to be treated. I also understand the position that I’m in. God has given me this unbelievable opportunity to play at this level, and I understand what comes with that from a role-model standpoint.”