In his first meeting with the Chicago media last month, newly-signed Bulls guard Dwyane Wade was gushing about finally having the opportunity to play for his hometown team.
“The support [the city] has shown, I can’t tell you guys what that means to me,’’ Wade said. “I’m thankful. I appreciate it.’’
In an ABC News television interview that aired on Friday, however, Wade openly discussed the dark side of what’s been going on in his hometown, specifically the violence in the wake of his cousin Nykea Aldridge shot and killed last week.
“It was kind of one of those moments for our family, it’s like this is not real,’’ Wade said in the interview. “My cousin Nykea, she was, I want to say, she was like the quiet one. She would just be there. She would be about her kids.
“It was shocking to hear not only that she was murdered, but it was shocking to hear the way and how.’’
Coincidentally, Wade, alongside several other high profile NBA superstars like LeBron James, has been front and center in a push for athletes to use their voices and help in their communities.
A day before Aldridge, 32, was gunned down, Wade actually took part in an ESPN-sponsored town-hall meeting on violence that took place at a South Side YMCA.
“We’re using our voice, we’re using our platform to try to shed some light on the city of Chicago, and then hours later, one of my family members was killed,’’ Wade said. “For me, it was tough.
“I want my family to grieve in private as much as possible. It’s becomes this national story. A lot of things I’ve seen didn’t reference her name. That hurt me to be the name they talked about instead of talking about a mother of four. That kind of hurt me and put me in a dark place for a few hours.’’
Derren Sorrells, 22, and Darwin Sorrells Jr., 26, were charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.
The other topic Wade discussed with ABC News was the “bad taste’’ left in his mouth after a tweet by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gained national attention.
“Dwyane Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” Trump wrote.
He did later offer up condolences to Wade’s family, but it was almost too little, too late in Wade’s eyes.
“On one hand your cousin’s death is used as ploy for political gain,’’ Wade said. “On the other hand it’s a national story. It goes back to that for me. I want eyes on the city. I want us to be able to do more together and the only way we can do more together is if more people know what’s going on.
“I was grateful it started a conversation, but on the other hand, it was a bad taste in my mouth because of what my family is dealing with and what our city of Chicago is dealing with and it looks like it’s been used as a political gain.’’