The children of basketball stars tend to follow in the footsteps of their parents by also taking up the profession, and that was what Dwyane Wade envisioned for his daughter Zaya before she transitioned.
Wade, 41, touched on that chapter of his family life during an interview with Shannon Sharpe on his Club Shay Shay podcast, explaining that he initially thought Zaya would eventually play basketball with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony’s sons.
“I have Zaya. LeBron has Bryce. Melo has Kiyan. All within a 2 to 3 week span,” Wade told the host, per Daily Mail. “All our kids gonna grow up hooping together. ‘Oh we on! Boy we gonna have 3 babies! We on!’”
“You couldn’t tell me that we wouldn’t be on the circuit right now, baby! We hooping,” he also said. But Zaya, born Zion Malachi Airamis Wade, came out as transgender at the age of 12. “See what happens when you start making plans for other people’s lives?” Wade said.
The Miami Heat legend shares Zaya, 16, and another son with his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches. He also shares a daughter with his current wife Gabrielle Union and another son with Aja Metoyer. Wade also touched on Zaya’s transition and how that hasn’t changed how he feels about her.
“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,” the NBA champion told Sharpe. “She’s but a kid, and now becoming a young adult,” he added.
“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.”
Wade has been very open and supportive about his daughter’s transition. In an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2020, he opened up about his daughter coming out.
“Zaya came home and said, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward, I’m ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,’” he said at the time.
“So internally it’s our job to one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have. My wife [Gabrielle Union] reached out to everyone on the cast of Pose. We just tried to figure out as much information as we can to help our child be her best self.”