Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade, was shot dead a week ago and two men have been charged with her murder. The 32-year-old was among 90 murder victims in the city in August, the deadliest month since July 1993.
“It was kind of one of those moments for our family, it’s like this is not real. My cousin Nykea, she was, I want to say, she was like the quiet one. She would just be there. She would be about her kids,” Wade told ABC News.
“It was shocking to hear not only that she was murdered, but it was shocking to hear the way and how.”
Derren Sorrells, 22, and Darwin Sorrells, 26, have been charged with the killing. Authorities said the brothers were targeting a man who had driven a group of women from a suburb to Chicago’s Parkway Gardens neighborhood.
Wade has spoken on social issues several times in the past, and said the three boys he is raising - two sons and a cousin - were old enough to understand the nature of the issues.
In the interview, broadcast on Friday, a day before his cousin’s funeral is due to take place, the Chicago Bulls star said those youngsters were afraid of police officers the same way he was when he was growing up. He also said prisons needed to do more to better rehabilitate inmates.
Wade is returning to Chicago this season after spending the first 13 years of his professional career with the Miami Heat.
“My purpose for being back in the city is bigger than basketball,” Wade said. “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.”
After the shooting, Wade tweeted: “My cousin was killed today in Chicago. Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal. #EnoughIsEnough.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also wrote about the shooting, and linked it to his recent effort stop appeal to African American voters.
“Dwyane Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!,” said Mr Trump. He later posted condolences to Wade’s family.
Wade said he believed that the New York tycoon was being opportunistic.
“On one hand your cousin’s death is used as ploy for political gain. On the other hand it’s a national story. It goes back to that for me,” he said.
“I want eyes on the city. I want us to be able to do more together and the only way we can do more together is if more people know what's going on. I was grateful it started a conversation.
He added: “But on the other hand, it was a bad taste in my mouth because of what my family is dealing with and what our city of Chicago is dealing with and it looks like it's been used as a political gain.”
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