Dwyane Wade’s on his off-the-court role and focused these days as the father of a transgender child after 16 years in the NBA.
Wade recalled the moment when his 12-year-old child came out to him as trans and said she wanted to be called Zaya and addressed by the pronouns “she” and “her” when he appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”. “Proud allies” is what he described himself and wife Gabrielle Union as the discussion left him determined to give Zaya “the best opportunity to be her best self.”
Also dad to Zaire Blessing Dwyane, 18, Xavier Zechariah, 6, and Kaavia James, 15 months, “We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously” he says. “When our child comes home with a question, when a child comes home with an issue, when a child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can, to give them the best feedback that we can.”
Photos of Zaya attending an LGBTQ Pride parade in Miami last summer had Union and Wade face criticism when the photo was posted. However, Wade remained undisturbed by the online backlash.
“My job as a father is to facilitate their lives and to support them and be behind them in whatever they want to do,” he told Variety at the time. “I think as a family, we should support each other.”
A new ESPN documentary, “D. Wade: Life Unexpected” subjecting Dwayne Wade, doubled down on that stance in his “Ellen” chat.
“Once Zaya came home and said, ‘I want you to call me Zaya and I’m ready to take on this,’ I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader. And this is our opportunity to allow you to be a voice,’” the proud father recalled. “Right now it’s through us, because she’s 12 years old, but eventually it will be through her.”
Wade also reflected on his friendship with Kobe Bryant, who died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles area elsewhere in the interview,
“He was the first superstar that really embraced different generations, really embraced us,” Wade said. “He really put his arms around us as competitors, and the rest of the world.”