Retired NBA star Dwyane Wade spoke at length about his 12-year-old child Zion, and how his understanding of the LGQBT community has changed, in a recent podcast interview. Wade told "All The Smoke" that he had to "look in the mirror" when he realized his son did not identify as a boy.
Talking to former NBA players Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, Wade discussed his response tosurrounding a recent Thanksgiving photo of his family that featured Zion with manicured nails and crop-top. He initially called the criticism from haters "stupidity" on Twitter.
"When I respond to things socially, I'm not responding because you hurt my feelings," he said in the interview released Thursday. "When I'm responding, it's because I understand my platform. I understand I'm speaking for a lot of people that don't have the same voice."
Wade talked about the first time he realized Zion, then 3 years old, was not on "the boy vibe" like his oldest son, Zaire. "I had to look at 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? How are you going to act?'"
"It ain't about him. He knows who he is. It's about you. Who are you?" he said, adding, "Understand that you're the one that's got the issues. You're the one that's got the problems. It's not the kids."
"I've watched my son, from day one, become into who she now eventually has come into," Wade said. "For me, nothing changes with my love. Nothing changes with my responsibilities. Only thing I got to do now is get smarter and educate myself more."
The Miami Heat legend got praise online for his interview. Democratic president candidate Julián Castro called Wade "an inspiration" as father. "His unconditional love for Zion will give other parents the courage to love and respect their children for who they truly are," Castro tweeted.
In the podcast episode, Wade also credited his wife, Gabrielle Union, for helping change his views. "She came in and she gave me some different lenses to look through life and changed my whole perspective," he said. "I grew up with the same perspective as a lot of these people out here that's 'ig'nant.'"
Wade and Union, Zion's stepmom, have publicly supported Zion. Last September, the power couple designed a T-shirt that promotes inclusion and equality — and shows off their pride for Zion. In April, Zion attended the Miami Beach Pride Festival with Union.