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.

Retired NBA star Dwyane Wade celebrated his 12-year-old child Zion’s “courage and strength” during a recent appearance on “All the Smoke.” 

“You can learn something from your kids,” Wade said in Thursday’s episode of the Showtime Basketball podcast. “In our household, that’s all we talk about ― we talk about making sure our kids be seen by each of us.”

He added, “We want them to be whoever they feel that they can be in this world. That’s our goal.”

Wade said he was speaking up for Zion and for “so many others in the LGBTQ+ community.”

In April, Wade, who’s 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.

“We support each other with Pride!” Wade wrote below a photo of Zion and Union at the parade. 

In another post, he noted that Zion had a “cheering section” at the parade. 

“Wish I was there to see you smile kid!” he added. 

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

“I don’t really talk about it much because it’s Zion’s story to tell,” he said. “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.”

On Thursday’s episode of “All the Smoke,” Wade did not label his child’s sexuality or gender identity, but addressed some of the negative comments his family has received on social media about Zion. 

“There’s going to be a lot of negativity, a lot of hate,” he said. “It’s not even just from my son’s sexuality, it’s about being a young Black man ... and everything that comes with that.”

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

“I understand my platform,” he said. “I understand that I’m speaking for a lot of people that don’t have the same voice that I have, as a father.”

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.

“I’ve seen some post-thanksgiving hate on social about my family photo,” Wade tweeted in November. “Stupidity is apart of this world we live in — so i get it. But here’s the thing — I’ve been chosen to lead my family not y’all. So we will continue to be us and support each other with pride, love & a smile!”

“[To] all these people that are out there saying those things, look at yourself,” Wade suggested on this week’s podcast. “Understand that you’re the one that has the issues, you’re the one that has the problems. It’s not the kids.” 

He continued, “You decide that they’re born that way and you say they gotta be that way – that’s not life, man. I’ve watched my son from day one become into who she now has eventually come into.”

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’s nephew Dahveon Morris.

Shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday, Zaire, 17, posted a photo on Instagram of him and Zion with the caption “We didn’t ask for y’all opinion.”

Wade told “All the Smoke” that he “loved” Zaire’s post.

“My family’s about supporting each other,” he said.