Dwyane Wade and Son Zaire Team Up with Bleacher Report on Pride Apparel with 'Powerful Message'
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the former NBA star, 39, and his 19-year-old son discussed their latest partnership in support of Pride month and the importance of raising awareness and educating others as LGBTQI+ allies.
Dwyane, Zaire, Bleacher Report and Nicole Zizi Studio recently partnered with Zaire's apparel company YnG DnA to create a pride collection benefiting Athlete Ally, a leading national non-profit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQI+ equality. Bleacher Report will donate 50 percent of net proceeds from the sale of select merch sold June 24 through July 31 to Athlete Ally.
Ever since his daughter Zaya, 14, came out as transgender last year, Dwyane has been an outspoken LGBTQI+ ally: "Now it's our job to educate on subjects and to be more knowledgeable about it," he shares.
Zaire says he wanted to team up on the Pride collection as a way to "try and show our support to my sister Zaya and the whole community."
"But our biggest thing was just to raise awareness and give back," he adds.
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Each piece in the collection, which includes a hoodie and a t-shirt, features a rainbow ring on the back reading, "Take Pride In Who You Are," as well as a message on the front reading, "You Are Amazing."
"'You are amazing,' that's what we say to each other," Dwyane says. "That's the one thing I've always tried to say to my kids. I have always let them know who they are and how amazing they are and where they can go. So I think it was a simple message, but it was a powerful message."
The back of each garment also features the numbers 129 and 70, representing the 129 total anti-trans bills and 70 sport-related anti-trans bills introduced in 2021.
"To be able to team up with Athlete Allies, people who are making sure that they are out there every day fighting for equality for the trans community for us is very important because my child Zaya, she's going to grow up in this world and what she wants to do in life, we want her to be able to do," the proud dad shares. "We don't want her to be barred in a way of stopping her from one day going to the Olympics if she wants to go to the Olympics."
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"It's simple, this is what people want. We all want to be accepted. We all want to be seen. We all want to be loved. We want to be supported," he adds.
Dwyane, who is also dad to sons Xavier, 7 (Dwyane's from an ex) and Dahveon, 19, (Dwyane's nephew) as well as daughter Kaavia James, 2, whom he shares with Gabrielle Union, says he and his family have an "obligation and duty to actually speak out" about issues facing the LGBTQI+ community as celebrities in the "public eye."
"We're not trying to gain anything from this, we're trying to live our lives like everyone else. So that's what we're doing. And we know that we're helping so many more families than not," he says of sharing his beliefs with the world.
Instead of focusing on the hate, Dwyane says he finds happiness in the "people that come up to us and say, 'Thank you for talking about it, for being open to all of these things.' "
The LGBTQ+ Pride Collection is available for purchase on the Bleacher Report Shop.
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