Dwyane Wade had a slam dunk response to criticism he received for supporting his youngest son’s attendance at a Pride parade earlier this year.
The NBA star who just ended a 16-year career in April had shared photos of his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, and 12-year-old son, Zion Malachi Airamis Wade, at a Miami Beach Pride parade in April.
While Wade was absent from the festivities due to his basketball schedule, he showed nothing but love on social media with positive messages about his son’s “cheering section” at the parade.
“We support each other with Pride!” he wrote at the time. “Wish I was there to see you smile kid!”
Unfortunately, Wade’s comments sparked online vitriol and homophobic responses. But the three-time NBA champion is not letting anybody steal his shine.
“I don’t really talk about it much because it’s Zion’s story to tell,” Wade told Variety in an interview published Tuesday in which he discussed the backlash. “I think as a family, we should support each other. That’s our job. And 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 added: “This is my job as a father.”
Wade encouraged moms and dads everywhere to tailor their parenting to the specific personalities and needs of each child.
“They are all different, and I have to get to know them and where they are. I have to say to most parents, get to know your kids,” he said. “Don’t put your wants and needs on them.”
Wade is father to three sons, Zaire, Xavier and Zion, and one daughter, Kaavia, who he welcomed via surrogate with Union in 2018.
The 37-year-old believes unconditionally loving all his children should be the standard among all parents.
“I’m very uneasy about accolades that come from supporting my kids or the negativity that comes from it,” he continued in the interview. “I’m doing what every parent has to do. Once you bring kids into this world, you become unselfish. It’s my job to be their role model, to be their voice in my kids’ lives, to let them know you can conquer the world. So, go and be your amazing self and we’re going to sit back and just love you.”
Last month, Wade shared a tweet for Zion’s birthday, referring to the boy as “mini-me.”
“I love the kid that you are and i love the young man that you’re becoming,” he wrote alongside a smiley pic of his son. “I am so thankful that i was chosen to be your father and guide you thru this world. Continue to be brave. Continue to be the smartest person in the room.”