Saturday, August 7, 2010

No Me in MV3

William Lee for the Chicago Tribune:

Dwyane Wade quietly comforts family of slain fan

High school basketball player Kevin Jones dreamed of reaching the NBA and becoming the next Dwyane Wade, but his hoop dreams were cut short this summer by a gunman's bullet.

Wade, who hosts a youth basketball camp at his alma mater, Richards High School in Oak Lawn, held a private meet-and-greet lunch Friday at the school with Jones' mother, Denise, his brothers, DeVonta and Anthony, and his sister, Antoinette. The meeting came almost two months after Jones' death.

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade meets with the family of slain CPS student Kevin Jones during his basketball camp Friday. Left to right: Anthony Jones, 9, DeVonta Jones, 13, Antoinette Jones,11, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin's mother Denise Jones. (Tribune / Zbigniew Bzdak)

The NBA champ, who spent part of his childhood in Englewood, came bearing gifts. In addition to backpacks and school supplies, Wade presented Jones' siblings with Visa and Foot Locker gift cards and autographed jerseys. He also presented a check for $2,500 to Denise Jones.

Afterwards, Wade ate and talked with the family for an hour and a half, sharing basketball tips with Jones' brothers. He also signed Jones' school jersey and one of his basketballs for the family.

Those present said there seemed to be some initial awkwardness between the Miami Heat NBA star and the awestruck kids. The usually talkative Wade found himself simply uttering "I don't know what to say." Jones' mom was equally tongue-tied. "I was in a state of shock. I've still got butterflies," Denise Jones [said] this evening.

Kevin Jones, 15, was shot at a graduation party in the city's Gresham neighborhood on June 13 after a disturbance broke out between the party's host and at least two guests. Jones, a freshman at Harper High School, wasn't involved in the altercation and was wounded when the gunman fled the apartment, but fired a shot through an open window, authorities said.

After reading the Tribune's article in which one of Jones' friends spoke of the teen's admiration for Wade, the NBA star's sister -- Tragil Wade, who works with her brother's charitable foundation -- said they decided to do something for the family. "We went into a discussion about how could we reach out to the family," she said. "We've never really done this before. It's a sad thing to know that they came from the same area we grew up in," added Tragil Wade, who attended the former Englewood High School.

Jones said the meeting made her understand why her son looked up to Wade. "I felt the way Kevin would have felt if he was in my shoes," Jones said.