Dwyane Wade Talks About His 12-Year-Old's Identity: We Want Our Kids To 'Be Seen'

The NBA legend said his job as a father is to support Zion, as he did when the family attended Miami Beach Pride in April.
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Retired NBA star Dwyane Wade celebrated his 12-year-old child Zion鈥檚 鈥渃ourage and strength鈥 during a recent appearance on 鈥淎ll the Smoke.鈥

鈥淵ou can learn something from your kids,鈥 Wade said in Thursday鈥檚 episode of the Showtime Basketball podcast. 鈥淚n our household, that鈥檚 all we talk about 鈥 we talk about making sure our kids be seen by each of us.鈥

He added, 鈥淲e want them to be whoever they feel that they can be in this world. That鈥檚 our goal.鈥

Wade said he was speaking up for Zion and for 鈥渟o many others in the LGBTQ+ community.鈥

In April, Wade, who鈥檚 married to actor Gabrielle Union, shared photos on his Instagram Story of his family supporting Zion at a Miami Beach Pride parade. The former Miami Heat player, who retired from the NBA that month, missed the festivities himself due to his work schedule.

鈥淲e support each other with Pride!鈥 Wade wrote below a photo of Zion and Union at the parade.

In another post, he noted that Zion had a 鈥渃heering section鈥 at the parade.

鈥淲ish I was there to see you smile kid!鈥 he added.

Wade also discussed supporting Zion during a Variety interview in June.

鈥淚 don鈥檛 really talk about it much because it鈥檚 Zion鈥檚 story to tell,鈥 he said. 鈥淚 think as a family, we should support each other. That鈥檚 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.鈥

On Thursday鈥檚 episode of 鈥淎ll the Smoke,鈥 Wade did not label his child鈥檚 sexuality or gender identity, but addressed some of the negative comments his family has received on social media about Zion.

鈥淭here鈥檚 going to be a lot of negativity, a lot of hate,鈥 he said. 鈥淚t鈥檚 not even just from my son鈥檚 sexuality, it鈥檚 about being a young Black man ... and everything that comes with that.鈥

Wade said that he makes a point to publicly respond to negativity because of his influence as a star athlete.

鈥淚 understand my platform,鈥 he said. 鈥淚 understand that I鈥檓 speaking for a lot of people that don鈥檛 have the same voice that I have, as a father.鈥

Last month, the NBA legend responded to criticism after Union posted a family photo showing Zion wearing long nails and a crop top on Thanksgiving.

鈥淚鈥檝e seen some post-thanksgiving hate on social about my family photo,鈥 Wade tweeted in November. 鈥淪tupidity is apart of this world we live in 鈥 so i get it. But here鈥檚 the thing 鈥 I鈥檝e been chosen to lead my family not y鈥檃ll. So we will continue to be us and support each other with pride, love & a smile!鈥

鈥淸To] all these people that are out there saying those things, look at yourself,鈥 Wade suggested on this week鈥檚 podcast. 鈥淯nderstand that you鈥檙e the one that has the issues, you鈥檙e the one that has the problems. It鈥檚 not the kids.鈥

He continued, 鈥淵ou decide that they鈥檙e born that way and you say they gotta be that way 鈥 that鈥檚 not life, man. I鈥檝e watched my son from day one become into who she now has eventually come into.鈥

In addition to Zion, Wade has two sons, Zaire and Xavier, and a daughter, Kaavia, whom he welcomed with Union in 2018. Wade and Union also parent Wade鈥檚 nephew Dahveon Morris.

Shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday, Zaire, 17, posted a photo on Instagram of him and Zion with the caption 鈥We didn鈥檛 ask for y鈥檃ll opinion.鈥

Wade told 鈥淎ll the Smoke鈥 that he 鈥渓oved鈥 Zaire鈥檚 post.

鈥淢y family鈥檚 about supporting each other,鈥 he said.

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