When NBA legend Dwyane Wade went from the Miami Heat to the Chicago Bulls, the move was much bigger than basketball. Wade was born in Chicago and went to high school in Oak Lawn, a suburb of Chicago. The move was also for him to ultimately go home. However, around the same time that Wade went home, he sadly had to mourn his cousin’s death, who was tragically murdered in Chicago.
Dwyane Wade’s cousin Nykea Aldridge was tragically murdered
According to The Undefeated, Nykea Aldridge, a 32-year-old mother of four who was also engaged, was pushing her infant daughter’s stroller while heading to register her kids for school on Aug. 26, 2016. However, Aldridge suffered gunshot wounds to her head and arm. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. The baby was not harmed.
Police arrested two brothers and charged them with first-degree murder and attempted murder, per The Undefeated. According to the Chicago Tribune, one brother later pleaded guilty in late 2018 “to a reduced charge of conspiracy to commit murder.” He then agreed to testify against his brother. However, his brother then ended up pleading guilty “to first-degree murder as part of a deal in which Cook County prosecutors recommended he be sentenced to 27 years in prison.”
According to ESPN, one of the men ultimately admitted to firing his gun at a someone who he thought was in a rival gang. The bullets, though, struck Aldridge.
After the tragic killing, Dwyane Wade, understandably, took his frustration to Twitter.
“My cousin was killed today in Chicago. Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal. #EnoughIsEnough,” he tweeted.
He called for stricter gun laws
Shortly after Nykea Aldridge’s death, Dwyane Wade spoke to ABC News.
“My purpose for being back in the city is bigger than basketball,” Wade said, according to The New York Times. “Basketball is a big part of it, of course. It’s what I do for a living. But I think my purpose at the end of the day is hopefully to come to Chicago and be a part and be the voice that can help bring people together.”
Ninety people were killed in Chicago in August 2016, according to The New York Times. It was the most to take place in Chicago in any month since 1996.
“They are fighting a war,” Wade said of the police in Chicago, according to The New York Times. “And they can do a lot better, but they can get more help as well to do better. There’s other cities that have way tougher gun laws. We have weak gun laws.”
Dwyane Wade had a short-lived NBA stint in Chicago, but he ultimately worked to make a difference in the city. In addition to using his platform to call for stricter gun laws, he also helped underprivileged families, per the Chicago Tribune. Yes, basketball helped make him famous, but Wade’s stellar play on the court ultimately gave him a platform to make a difference in his hometown.
Dwyane Wade was a star for the Heat, Bulls, and Cavs
Dwyane Wade went from Richards High School in Illinois to Marquette. His play in college then helped him become the No. 5 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft with the Miami Heat.
Wade then became a superstar. He earned 12 consecutive All-Star selections from 2004-05 through 2015-16. Wade then even led the NBA in scoring with 30.2 points per game in 2008-09. In 2005-06, Wade won a championship with Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat. He then went to four consecutive NBA Finals with LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and the Heat from 2010-11 through 2013-14, and they won two championships during those four years.
After spending 13 seasons with the Heat, Dwyane Wade went to the Chicago Bulls in 2016-17. During the 2017-18 season, though, he spent half a season with the Cleveland Cavaliers before finishing his career with the Heat in the latter-half of 2017-18 and in 2018-19.
Overall in his career, Wade was a 13-time All-Star, a three-time NBA champion, and he won NBA Finals MVP once. Wade also averaged 22 points per game for his career.
Dwyane Wade was one of the best basketball players of all-time. His work on the court has also helped him make a difference off the court.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference