The night Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood crime watch volunteer on Feb. 26, Dwyane Wade and James were only a few miles away, playing in the NBA All-Star game.
But on Friday they joined the thousands of people speaking out about the case..
Wade posted a photo of himself from a previous photo shoot wearing a hooded sweat shirt, otherwise known as a hoodie, to his Twitter and Facebook pages.
A couple hours later, James posted another photo — this one of the Heat team, all wearing hoodies, their heads bowed, their hands stuffed into their pockets. Details of when and where the photo was taken were not immediately available.
Among the hashtags James linked to the photo: "WeWantJustice."
"As a father, this hits home," said Wade, who has 10- and 4-year-old sons.
Martin was killed in Sanford, Fla. as he was returning to a gated community, carrying candy and iced tea. A neighborhood crime-watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, said he acted in self-defense and has not been arrested, though state and federal authorities are still investigating.
Protests have popped up nationwide in recent days, with thousands of people — many of them wearing hoodies — calling for action.
"This situation hit home for me because last Christmas, all my oldest son wanted as a gift was hoodies," Wade told The Associated Press Friday from Auburn Hills, Mich., where the Heat were to play the Detroit Pistons. "So when I heard about this a week ago, I thought of my sons. I'm speaking up because I feel it's necessary that we get past the stereotype of young, black men and especially with our youth."
Wade and James decided Thursday to make their reactions about the Martin situation public, and James felt the best way to do that was the team photo with everyone wearing hoodies.
On Friday, Fox News Channel commentator Geraldo Rivera said on "Fox & Friends" the hoodie Martin wore when he was killed was as much responsible for his death as the man who shot him. Rivera later said his comment was "politically incorrect."
Separately, a Florida state lawmaker, Rep. Alan Williams, a Democrat from Tallahassee, urged the Heat stars — along with New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire, a central Florida native — in an early Friday post on Twitter to wear hoodies during pregame warmups to call attention to the Martin story.
Such a move would not be permitted under the NBA's uniform policy, although Heat players are planning to pay tribute to Martin in some manner when they face the Pistons on Friday night.
"When you see Trayvon, when you see that image, he could be anybody's kid, black or white, Hispanic, Asian, what have you," Williams said in a telephone interview. "Basketball is a sport that kind of transcends race and class and all those things that divide us. For me, as a state representative, we have to go beyond the traditional routes that some people would take."
The Heat players are part of people around the country to participate in the “hoodie” support for Martin, who was wearing a hoodie when he was killed.
By Friday afternoon, the picture had been viewed by over 77,000 people. James’ followers replied with statements such as “respect” and “salute to the entire Miami Heat organization.”
The original rally dubbed the Million Hoodie March was in New York’s Square Union on March 21.