"You might think I'm lying," Wade said Thursday, "but I'm being truthful, I didn't expect that at all. I didn't expect that kind of reaction. Like I said, I knew it was a tough day for them going back for their first full day. I definitely wanted to bring an element of surprise, an element of joy. But the reaction was unbelievable.
"And, you know, it was great to see. It was great to feel. It was great to feel their energy, their vibe and it carried them throughout the whole day. I carried me for the rest of day, as well."
Wade visited the Parkland, Florida high school on its first full day back in class since 17 people were shot and killed there last month, speaking to the students with whom he's had an increasingly close relationship. He dedicated the remainder of his season to 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver, who was among the people killed in the shooting and was buried in a Wade jersey.
The 12-time All-Star said he was impressed by the kids, who have organized a rally in Washington D.C. later this month to protest gun violence.
"They are well prepared and well aware of what they need to do and what they want to do and the change they want to see," he said. "And it's great. It's great to see that, because I come from a community in Chicago where our youth are getting killed daily and don't have the same voice, don't have the same light on them that Parkland has.
"And these kids understand what they have and they're taking other kids with 'em. So they've met with Chicago. They've met with the kids from the inner city of Chicago and trying to see how they can team up to do things. They're just on top of it. It was very impressive to be in a room, sitting there with these young future leaders. They definitely taught me some things that I didn't know. So they are very impressive."
Wade returned to the Heat in February after spending the first half of the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Oliver's father said his son was ecstatic about his favorite player's return. Wade wrote Oliver's name on his sneakers for a Feb. 27 game against the Philadelphia 76ers.