Originally written March 24, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Miami Heat won a basketball game Friday night. They hope that isn't what people remember. Instead, they would like for the country to take note of the social statements they made before, during and after their 88-73 win over the Detroit Pistons. Instead of a normal game day on the road, Friday is when the Heat got involved in one of the nation's hottest political topics -- the Feb. 26 shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Orlando. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh were playing in the All-Star Game that night, just a few miles away. After political commentators said Martin's hooded sweatshirt might have contributed to his shooting, Wade posted a picture of himself in a similar outfit to his Twitter and Facebook accounts. "I wear hoodies, the team wears hoodies -- my son had hoodies on his Christmas list," Wade said after the game. "That shouldn't matter. Sometimes it is hard to take the lead on a political issue, but this is one where everyone is on board. We wanted to do something to support the family." Later on Friday, James and Wade organized a team photo that had the Miami players with bowed heads, wearing hooded Heat tops. James posted the picture to his Twitter account with the hashtags WeAreTrayvonMartin, Hoodies, Stereotyped and WeWantJustice. "When I'm in a position where I can shed some light on a situation that I feel is wrong, I'm happy to do that," James said. "We're seen by people as leaders and role models, so we've got this opportunity to shed that light on a bad situation." During the game, several Miami players, including James, Wade and Bosh, had messages on their shoes that included "RIP Trayvon Martin" and "We Want Justice." "I have two boys, D-Wade has two boys and a lot of our teammates have sons," James said. "This could be one of our sons someday. The thought of sending your son to the store and never having him return is an emotional one for any parent." Making a political statement on the day of a game could have been seen as a distraction, but the Heat front office didn't have a problem with it. The team issued a statement before the game praising the moves. "Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Trayvon Martin for their loss and for everyone involved in this terrible tragedy," the statement said. "We support our players and join them in hoping that their images and our logo can be part of the national dialogue and can help in our nation's healing." As it turned out, if the team was distracted, it didn't show on the court. Miami led by 23 points at halftime and cruised to the easy victory. Wade finished with 24 points and nine rebounds, while James had 17 points and 10 assists. "We did what we had to do, and we've got to go out and do it again on Sunday," Wade said. "We took care of business." But Wade and his teammates were still on focused on other things. "We just want justice to be served," Wade said. "A hoodie is something you wear when you are cold, and this is a world where everyone is supposed to be able to do that. This isn't a place where you should have to pick your clothes based on your color or who you are. We want to help get that message out there."
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