NBA star Dwyane Wade spoke to Variety about why it was important for him to support his younger son attending a pride parade last spring.
In April, Wade’s then 11-year-old son Zion posted pictures of himself at Miami Pride, with his siblings and stepmother Gabrielle Union. Wade, who was on the road with the Miami Heat, chimed in and voiced his love for Zion on social media. “We support each other wide Pride!” Wade wrote on Instagram.
“I don’t really talk about it much because it’s Zion’s story to tell,” Wade said to Variety during an interview at Cannes Lions, the annual advertising conference in the South of France. “I think as a family, we should support each other. That’s our job. And my job as a father is to facilitate their lives and to support them and be behind them in whatever they want to do.”
Asked if he had a message for other parents during Pride month, Wade said it’s no different than parenting every other month of the year. “I’m asked a question about my kids a lot from a sports perspective,” Wade said. “I think people expect you to parent each kids the same. They are all different, and I have to get to know them and where they are. I have to say to most parents, get to know your kids. Don’t put your wants and needs on them.”
Wade said he was surprised that his love for his son resulted in some backlash on social media. “This is my job as a father,” Wade said. “I’m very uneasy about accolades that come from supporting my kids or the negativity that comes from it. I’m doing what every parent has to do. Once you bring kids into this world, you become unselfish. It’s my job to be their role model, to be their voice in my kids’ lives, to let them know you can conquer the world. So, go and be your amazing self and we’re going to sit back and just love you.”
Wade is at Cannes Lions this week to speak about his recent advertising campaign with Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser. “I saw what they had done with Derek Jeter, someone who I admire as an athlete. And so when I got the opportunity and we got the call, I said, ‘Cool. I’m there.’”
The Variety Studio at Cannes is presented by Inscape & iSpot.TV.