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Dwyane Wade says ‘hero’ daughter Zaya ‘opened his eyes to something greater’

·2-min read

Retired NBA superstar Dwyane Wade said raising his “hero” daughter Zaya has made him a better parent by opening his “eyes” and “ears” to “something greater and bigger”.

Wade spoke with TODAY‘s Craig Melvin about the NBA and his new game show The Cube on Thursday (10 June). At one point in the interview, Wade opened up about what he’s learned as a parent after his daughter Zaya came out as trans last year.

He explained that the experience “made [him] grow” as a parent and become more educated about issues affecting the LGBT+ community.

“I didn’t know anything, really wasn’t knowledgeable about the LGBTQ+ community,” Wade said. “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.”

He continued: “She’s the strong one in this family. She’s a hero. It’s my wife [Gabrielle Union], it’s our family’s job to make sure that we listen to her.”

Dwyane Wade and Union are fiercely protective over Zaya. Union told People in May that their home will “never be a safe space for bigots”, and she would never “expose anyone I love to violence, whether that be verbal, physical, emotional or spiritual”.

“Jerks exist in every area of life,” Union explained. “And we function from a place of truth in our household. But if you come at us, oh, be very prepared.”

Wade and Union told Entertainment Weekly last month that they have encouraged Zaya to be her authentic self’ since she was three years old – a parenting technique they’ve used for all their children. Union said: “We try to push them, we try to push [them to be] their authentic selves.

“We’re not trying to make them wear a mask or be someone that they’re not… we’ve done that since Zaya was three years old, and we’ll continue now that Kaavia is two years old.”

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