Wade on Oladipo: “I know he’ll do everything to make sure he’s Victor Oladipo again.”
Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo have had a relationship since Oladipo was still in high school. Serendipity brought the two together at a White House dinner in 2014, when Oladipo was a senior at DeMatha in Hyattsville, Maryland, and shared a table with the Miami Heat guard at a Father’s Day event.
While Wade was on the court for the Heat in a 111-99 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, Oladipo collapsed to the floor in Indiana with an injury which momentarily captured the attention of the NBA world. The non-contact injury to Oladipo’s right knee was the gruesome sort which required trainers to hide it from the public by placing towels over the Indiana Pacers guard’s knee. Oladipo needed a stretcher to carry him off the floor and into the locker room in the second quarter of the Pacers’ eventual 110-106 win against the Toronto Raptors.
Wade didn’t know about his friend’s injury until a gaggle of reporters surrounded him in the Heat’s locker room at AmericanAirlines Arena more than 30 minutes after Miami (22-24) lost for the fourth time in five games.
“What happened?” Wade asked when a reporter mentioned the injury Oladipo suffered. The reporter then explained.
There was not yet an official word on the diagnosis, but all indications pointed to Oladipo’s knee injury being severe. Not long after the injury occurred, ESPN reported on a preliminary test, which left Indiana fearful Oladipo would miss the remainder of the season. Oladipo, who was an All-Star for the first time last season, will undergo an MRI on Thursday.
Wade provided an on-the-spot reaction from Miami.
“As we talk about in this league, man, you obviously never want to see any players get injured,” Wade said, “especially ones that you have a relationship with, guys you know put the work in, and it’s unfortunate that injuries are a part of this game and it sucks.”
Wade’s relationship with Oladipo blossomed after their chance meeting in Washington. Before he became a 12-time All-Star, Wade was a standout for the Marquette Golden Eagles playing for former coach Tom Crean. At the dinner, Oladipo asked Wade what Crean was like because Oladipo had interest from the Indiana Hoosiers, who were coached by Crean at the time. Wade’s praise of Crean, who now coaches the Georgia Bulldogs, convinced Oladipo to go to Indiana, where he became an All-American.
Now the two guards train together in the offseason and Wade has consistently served as something of a mentor to Oladipo. The closeness means Wade is confident. No matter how severe the injury, Wade expects Oladipo to come back strong.
“I think guys like Vic, these guys are so mentally strong that eventually — if it is anything that sets him back for a little while — he’ll work his way back to where he is or even better, so I pray that it’s nothing serious, but if it is, I know he’ll do anything,” Wade said. “We’ve got the same trainers. I know he’ll do everything to make sure he’s Victor Oladipo again.”