Being a parent isn’t always easy, but there are some things about it that should be; loving your child unconditionally, supporting them no matter what, and always being there for them. Which is exactly what former NBA star Dwyane Wade does for his children, particularly his son, Zion.
Wade has received both encouragement and backlash for simply doing his one job as a parent: loving and supporting his son. And while he’s responded to trolls on social media with general talk about ignorance and hate and stupidity, Wade’s never really opened up about raising his son — until now. Dwyane was a guest on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s podcast All The Smoke where Barnes asked about his approach to parenting a gay child and the strong connection he and Zion have. “You want to talk about strength and courage? My 12-year-old has way more than I have,” Wade credited. “You can learn something from your kids.” Then he went on to share how in their household, which he shares with wife Gabrielle Union, one of the most important things they do for their kids and want for them is that they be seen.
Wade — who’s had sole custody of sons Zaire and Zion since 2011, has daughter Kaavia with Union, and also raises his nephew Dahveon — wants their kids to “understand the power in their voice” and “be whoever they feel that they can be in this world.” So in order for that to happen, particularly for Zion, they are preparing her for all the negativity and hate that she will undoubtedly face. That’s right. She. Because it’s not just about Zion’s sexuality but also being “a young black man or black woman.”
D Wade uses “She” pronoun referring to 11 y.o. son pic.twitter.com/CjqVz15OUF
— SportsGossip.com (@SportsGossipCom) December 19, 2019
Dwyane revealed that he and first wife Siohvaughn Funches noticed Zion wasn’t “on the boy vibe that Zaire was on,” and Wade had to look himself in the mirror and ask himself how he was going to be there for her.
It was after Thanksgiving that Union posted a beautiful family photo on Instagram showing Zion in a crop top and sporting long painted nails. It, of course, drew all kinds of terrible comments, but Wade responded in that amazing way of his.
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
And it’s why, when it comes to the social media trolls, he isn’t fazed by the hate nor does he have time for their ignorance. But he would like to use his voice to educate. “I understand my platform, I understand that I’m speaking for a lot of people that don’t have the same voice I have … I’m speaking for so many others in the LGBTQ+ community.”
The most important job a parent has is to love and support their kids, and that’s what Dwyane does, loudly and unconditionally. Can’t ask for more than that. His children are blessed to have him as their dad and role model.