Retired NBA superstar Dwyane Wade credited his daughter Zaya with helping him grow as a person and become a strong ally for the LGBTQ+ community.
In an interview with Craig Melvin on Today yesterday morning, Wade spoke about how Zaya’s transgender identity has helped him become more knowledgeable and affirming for the community, and how her strength and example has served as an inspiration.
“It's made me grow,” Wade said of Zaya’s coming out last year. “I didn't know anything, really wasn't knowledgeable about the LGBTQ+ community. What it has done is it opened my eyes and my ears to something greater and bigger than I, and my daughter has allowed us gracefully to be her support system.
The NBA Hall of Fame inductee heralded his daughter’s determination in facing adversity, saying “she's a hero” and is “the strong one” in his family.
“It's my wife, it's our family’s job to make sure that we listen to her,” Wade continued.
Earlier this year, Wade opened up and revealed how having an LGBTQ+ child has changed him for the better. He took part in a group discussion on the I Am Athlete channel where he explained his childhood growing up “in the hood” in the “inner city of Chicago” had reinforced a binary concept of gender, which was thrown out the window when he Zaya was eight years old and in tears and opened up about her sexuality at the time.
“At that moment everything that I was taught went out the window and my sole job and responsibility was to make sure that this kid grew up knowing that they are supported and loved by the father and the other parent,” Dwyane told the group. “That's my only job.”
It’s a job he has clearly taken seriously. Wade also noted how the makeup of his blended family has helped make him not just a better father to his children, but a better person in general.
“Zaire is 19 years old, Kaav is two years old, and I've been able to see kids in different generations at different times, in different parts of places in my life,” Wade said. “It's helped me be a better parent and be a better person because I've seen all kids are not alike, and you can't treat them as such.”
When asked by Melvin if he had any sage advice for dads as Father’s Day approached, the ever-wise Wade had a simple but honest response.
“Good luck,” Wade replied with a hearty laugh.