When it comes to 14-year-old daughter Zaya, Dwyane Wade is committed to learning about the things he doesn’t know about first-hand — and that includes traditional teenage rights of passage, like finding the right group of friends to fit in with and, of course, dating. The retired NBA player got candid about the way he he supports Zaya, and the types of things the transgender teen is going through right now.
Wade got candid in an interview on Instagram Live on Nov. 18 with Today contributor, Jill Martin, while promoting his memoir, Dwyane. Martin asked Wade what it was like for Wade to parent Zaya, without the skill set or knowledge of raising a transgender child. “I do the same thing I would do in basketball,” Wade said. “I’m gonna get help, I’m gonna go work on me. So if I don’t know something in this life, especially when it comes from my children, then it’s my job to go and learn these things.”
The basketball icon is also willing to learn from all his children as they grow, as he and wife Gabrielle Union parent 19-year-old Zaire, 8-year-old Xavier, 3-year-old Kaavia, and takes on the role of father figure to his nephew, 20-year-old Dahveon Morris. But when it comes to the subject of Zaya and navigating her life as a transgender teen, Wade leads with an open communication type of approach.
“Just like last night, I’ve sent Zaya a couple of the videos that I’ve had on this tour about her,” Wade revealed. “And I sent her those videos because one, I want her to know what I’ve said on her behalf but also, too, if there’s anything I’m saying that does not line up with her beliefs, or if anything I’m saying has kind of changed throughout this process, educate me and let me know.”
Wade — who doesn’t want to solely focus on the fact that Zaya is transgender — notes her accomplishments, and the things that he is also learning about as she lives her life as a teen.
“She’s a straight-A person through and through, she’s a stand-up person, she’s a young kid who is trying to fit in with other kids at school, and you know, trying to get to the point where she is trying to date,” Wade said. “She’s trying to live life and Zaya is so much more than being a part of the trans community. She’s my daughter. She’s beautiful and she has so many other great qualities that she is tapping into that everyone is starting to see.”