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Dwyane Wade Explains How Daughter Zaya Is Helping Him ‘Grow’ Into the Man He ‘Dreamed of Becoming’

Becoming a better father. Dwyane Wade has learned a lot from his 12-year-old daughter, Zaya, coming out as transgender.

Related: Inside Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade's Holiday Vacation With Kids

“For me, it’s always about being able to adapt, being able to learn and always being able to grow,” the former NBA player, 38, told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday, February 13. “I think coming from the inner city of Chicago early on, I was kind of closed-minded on a lot of things. And I’ve been with my wife, [Gabrielle Union], traveling the world, meeting people, going to different places. I’ve learned to keep my mind open, keep my eyes open, keep my heart open, keep my thoughts open.”

The athlete went on to say, “That’s what I’ve been trying to do as I’m growing into the man that I’ve always dreamed of becoming.”

Dwyane Wade arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 9, 2020. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Related: Kim Kardashian and More Celebs Who Used Surrogates

On Tuesday, February 11, the former Miami Heat player spoke to Ellen DeGeneres about the day his preteen sat him and Union, 47, down to share her story.

“[She] said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward, I’m ready to live my truth. And I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,’” the A Father First author recounted during The Ellen DeGeneres Show appearance. “Now it’s our job to one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have. … We’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self.”

When asked about his decision to share Zaya’s journey so publicly, Wade told the outlet on Thursday that he and the actress understand they’re “not the only family that deals with” tough stuff. The Chicago native explained, “We’re not the only family that had to deal with surrogacy to bring our daughter [Kaavia] into the world. We’re not the only family that’s had to deal with gender expression, gender identity [and] sexuality with their child.”

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She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people.

A post shared by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion) on

The couple, who wed in 2014, “understand the[ir] position.” Wade explained, “Even though it’s not always a popular thing to speak out on issues that people are uncomfortable with or not as educated on, but this is the platform that God gave me and my family, so we use it.”

Related: Putting the Kids First! Celebs Who Crush Coparenting

The Olympian shares son Zaire, 18, and Zaya with his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches, and welcomed son Xavier, 6, with Aja Metoyer. His and Union’s daughter, Kaavia, arrived in November 2018 via gestational carrier.

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