Among their many stops around Washington ahead of Saturday’s March for Our Lives, a group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who survived a mass shooting there last month passed by the Verizon Center on Friday to meet with the Washington Wizards. About a dozen students dropped in on the Wizards’ morning practice, where they talked and posed for photos with players including John Wall, Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre, and Jason Smith. They also met Wizards Coach Scott Brooks and the team’s owner, Ted Leonsis, according to photos shared by the team on social media.
— Monumental Sports (@MSE) March 23, 2018
The Stoneman Douglas students have been meeting with people all over DC in the days leading up to the march, which is expected to draw between 500,000 and 1 million demonstrators to Pennsylvania Avenue. On Thursday, a group from Parkland visited with students at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a Southeast DC charter high school that has lost two of its students to gun violence this year.
The Wizards had a bit of fun with the Parkland kids, in particular forward Kelly Oubre, who recorded a video with Stoneman Douglas junior Adam Alhanti in which he poked Alhanti’s ear as a joke to get back at the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade. (Wade earned a technical foul after poking Oubre’s ear during the Heat’s win over the Wizards earlier this month.)
— Adam Alhanti (@AAlhanti) March 23, 2018
Wade, for his part, appears to appreciate the reference.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) March 23, 2018
While the Wizards did not respond to requests for comment, NBA players, especially Wade, have been vocal and financial supporters of the pro-gun-control movement the Stoneman Douglas students launched in the wake of the shooting. Wade visited the school on its first day of class following the February 14 incident, sponsored an art exhibit in Miami, and with his wife, Gabrielle Union, donated $200,000 to the March for Our Lives. The NBA Players Association’s charitable arm is matching player contributions of up to $25,000. Also on Friday, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony, who grew up in Baltimore, announced he is sending more than 4,500 youths from his hometown to participate in the march.