From attending Miami Beach's Gay Pride Parade to wearing fake nails in a holiday photo, Dwyane Wade's 12-year-old son Zion has been the subject of ridicule by critics. The pre-teen's sexuality has been the topic of social media conversations and throughout 2019, both Dwyane and his wife Gabrielle Union have come forward to defend their family. Recently, Dwyane took to social media to make it clear that "I’ve been chosen to lead my family not y’all" and that the Wades will continue to "support each other with pride, love & a smile!"

Dwyane recently sat down with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson for their All The Smoke podcast to discuss his life and career, and the topic of family came up during the dialogue. Matt, who obtained full custody of his children he shares with Gloria Govan, asked Dwyane about his experiences with becoming the primary caregiver for his sons. Wade said that he didn't have too many examples to lean on while going through the legal process and it was "a tough time" for him. "It was unchartered waters, but it was all just about being in my kids' lives and unfortunately that was the way I had to do it."

"I needed them and they needed me," Dwyane added. "Zaire, he's a basketball player and trying to navigate this world of having his father's last name. And lookin' like me a little bit, and people having expectations of how he should be. What he should be. That's been tough as a parent just have him navigate." 

Then, Matt mentioned young Zion coming out to the world. "You want to talk about strength and courage? My 12-year-old has way more than I have," Dwyane said. "You can learn something from your kids, but in the household, now, it's all we talk about. We talk about our kids being seen by each of us... We want them to be whoever they feel like they can be in this world. Understand that you can be whoever. You can be whatever." He and Gabrielle also teach their children that while living their truths, there will be people who will come at them with negativity.

Dwyane added that when he responds to criticisms about Zion, or anything else, it's not because his feelings are hurt. He said he "understands his platform" and wants to use it for people who "don't have the same voice that I have." The retired basketball star said he's speaking on behalf of his 12-year-old son and others in the LGBTQ+ community as "it's just my version of support."

Both Dwyane and Gabrielle noticed that there was something different about Zion since the child was a toddler. "I've watched my son from day one become into who she now eventually has come into. For me, nothing changes with my love. Nothing changes with my responsibilities. Only thing I gotta do now is get smarter and educate myself more. That's my job." Watch Dwyane's All The Smoke interview in full below.