Retired NBA superstar Dwyane Wade went in-depth this week about family, parenting and marriage on the “All the Smoke” podcast. The three-time NBA champion spoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson about how his view evolved regarding his 12-year-old son, Zion, who prefers to be addressed using feminine pronouns.
Wade: Nothing changes with my love
Barnes asked Wade, 37, what it’s like to play in a masculine sport and “be comfortable enough” to have a relationship with Zion that’s open and honest. Wade has spoken out in support of her as well as everyone else in the LGBTQ community.
The portion begins around the 30:15 mark.
“I’ve watched my son from Day 1 become into who she now eventually has come into. Nothing changes [with] my love; nothing changes [with] my responsibilities. Only thing I got to do now is get smarter and educate myself more. And that’s my job.”
Wade has sons Zaire — who is teaming with LeBron James’ son, Bronny, on the Sierra Canyon (Calif.) basketball team — and Zion with his first wife, Siohvaughn Funches. He has sole custody. Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union, have a daughter who turned 1 last month.
Wade on previously being ignorant
Wade credited Union for opening up his worldview to allow them to support Zion publicly. The three-time champion said he grew up with the “same perspective as a lot of these people out here that's a little ignorant,” but Union helped him put on a different set of lenses to view the world.
“I had to look myself in the mirror when my son at the time was 3 years old and my wife started having conversations about us noticing that he wasn’t on the boy vibe that Zaire was on. And, I had to look myself in the mirror and say, 'What if your son comes home and tells you he’s gay? What are you going to do? How are you going to be?’”
“It’s not about him. He knows who he is. It’s about you. Who are you? All these people that are out there saying those things — look at yourself. Understand that you’re the one that got the issue; you’re the one that has the problems. It’s not the kids.”
Zion attended the LGBTQ pride parade in Miami in April and faced backlash online. Wade and Union, who could not be there with him due to work commitments, supported her on social media and later defended her after the backlash.
Wade responds to criticism of son
Wade and Union responded to “post-Thanksgiving hate” after people objected to the way Zion was dressed in a family photo the actress shared on Instagram last month.
I’ve seen some post-thanksgiving hate on social about my family photo. 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! ✌🏾
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) November 30, 2019
Barnes referenced the constant backlash Zion faces, and Wade stands up for, when they talked about family.
“You want to talk about strength and courage?” Wade said. “My 12-year-old has way more than I have,” boasted Wade. “You can learn something from your kids.”
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