Dwyane Wade reflected on letting go of hopes that his daughter Zaya Wade would play basketball alongside the kids of his fellow NBA dads.
While appearing on the Club Shay Shay podcast, the basketball player told host Shannon Sharpe that he had to shift some of his expectations for the future when Zaya came out as transgender when she was 12. He explained that he had the idea that NBA fans would see the next generation of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony as the players’ children following in the footsteps of their famous fathers.
“I have Zaya. LeBron has Bryce. Melo has Kiyan. All within a 2-3 week span,” Dwyane said to Sharpe. “All our kids gonna grow up hooping together. ‘Oh we on! Boy we gonna have 3 babies! We on!’”
But after Zaya came out as trans, Dwyane had to come to terms with the fact that his vision for Zaya’s future would end up a lot different than he initially expected. He noted on the podcast, “See what happens when you start making plans for other people’s lives?”
He added that it’s only up to Zaya to decide what she wants her future to look like. At the time, the proud father added that it’s better to expect the unexpected because the future is never going to be exactly what you imagined. “You couldn’t tell me that we wouldn’t be on the circuit right now, baby! We hooping!”
“Then, I got to meet my child. And a lot of people like to talk about Zaya’s transition, but to me, Zaya hasn’t transitioned into anything,” he said. He added that Zaya’s transition is just one facet of her identity and that as she gets older, he admires that she is growing into herself. “She’s but a kid, and now becoming a young adult,” he continued. “I’ve watched her go through life. There hasn’t been any transition for us.”
“There’s been a transition for the world, but for us, I see the same kid that I’ve seen since May 29, 2007. Nothing has changed,” he concluded. Dwyane has championed Zaya and her choice to transition even as she faced vitriol from those who are anti-trans.
In an August interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Zaya gushed about her father, saying: “My dad is who truly inspires me the most.”
The model continued, “Kids always tend to look up to their parents, but not only did I idolize him growing up and see him as a real person, I realize that he has played such an essential role in supporting me and the ways I choose to present myself to the world.”
“He’s been so supportive and my biggest advocate. He took the time and learned and grew. I want to have that same mentality going through anything in life,” Zaya added. “Coming out is such a big change. It’s hard to navigate. We’ve all learned more about each other and the way we can coexist and grow together in this crazy world, especially in the public eye.”
“It’s like a spotlight is always on you. At the end of the day though, we are a family, and we support and love each other and we are grateful,” she concluded. Harper’s Bazaar included Zaya in its 2023 Icons Issue alongside both rising and established stars like Doja Cat, Paul Mescal, Kendall Jenner, Greta Lee, and more.