Former NBA star Dwyane Wade is speaking about how proud he is of his son, Zion, who is part of the LGBTQ community.
In a recent family photo, Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, were criticized after the 12-year-old was seen wearing a gray crop top and fake acrylic nails.
On Wednesday, in an interview on the All the Smoke podcast, Wade discussed how he had to battle his own internalized homophobia.
The 37-year-old – who is also father to Zaire, 17; Xavier, six; Kaavia, 13 months; and guardian to nephew Dahveon, 18 – said he refers to Zion with feminine pronouns.
Dwyane Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union, were criticized in a recent family photo in which his son, Zion, wore a crop top and acrylic nails. Pictured, left to right: Wade’ daughter Kaavia, Wade, Zion and Union
In an interview on the All the Smoke podcast on Wednesday, Wade spoke about struggling against his own homophobia. But he says he’s proud of Zion and wants his children to express themselves. Pictured: Wade with Union, July 2019, left; and in October 2019, right
‘I grew up with the same perspective as a lot of these people out here that’s a little [ignorant],’ he said in the interview.
‘I had to look myself in the mirror when my son at the time was three years old, and my wife started having conversations about us noticing that he wasn’t on the boy vibe that [my other son] 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?”‘
Wade says he and Union want their children to feel comfortable being themselves and not to hide who they truly are.
‘I watched [Zion], from day one, become into who she now eventually come into,’ he told hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.
‘First of all, if you want to talk about strength and courage, my 12-year-old has way more than I have.
‘You can learn something from your kids. In my household, man, that’s all we talk about.
‘We talk about making sure our kids are seen by each of us, me and my wife, We talk about making sure our kids understand the power in their voice.’
Wade says Zion has ‘strength and courage’ and that he refers to Zion with feminine pronouns. Pictured, left to right: Union, Wade and Zion on Halloween
Wade (center) is guardian to nephew Dahveon (second from left) and father to Kaavia (third from left), Zion, Zaire (second from left), and Zacier (far left). Pictured: Wade and Union with their children at his final career home game in Miami, April 2019
Wade says he feels the need to speak up for others that don’t have a voice and that he doesn’t feel that his son is abnormal.
‘Everybody get used to it, man,’ Wade says.
‘This is the new normal. So if anybody different, we looked at as different. You know what I’m saying?
‘The ones that don’t understand it. The ones that don’t get it. The ones that are stuck in a box. You’re different. Not the people that are out here living their lives, man.’
Wade retired from the NBA in April 2019 after a 16-year career with the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
He won three NBA Championships is a 13-time NBA All Star and is basketball’s 29th highest ever scorer with 23,165 points.