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Dwyane Wade opens up about parenting in tough times

Wade's ex-wife previously filed an objection to prevent their transgender daughter Zaya, 15, from receiving an updated birth certificate that reflects her gender identity.
/ Source: TODAY

Former NBA player Dwyane Wade opened up at the People's Choice Awards about what it's like parenting during difficult times.

Wade is father to transgender daughter Zaya, 15, whom he shares with his ex, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade. The two also have a 20-year-old son named Zaire, while Wade is also a father to 8-year-old son Xavier with former partner Aja Metoyer, and a 3-year-old daughter Kaavia, whom he shares with his current wife Gabrielle Union. 

Zaya came out publicly as transgender in 2020 and her father has been publicly supportive of his daughter since then. However, Funches-Wade filed an objection in November to prevent Zaya from receiving an updated birth certificate. 

In speaking to TODAY.com at the People's Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California, on Dec. 6, Wade said that he's still learning as a parent.

"I feel that we all have our own styles and our own way that we parent from our childhood, from what we were told," he said.

"But I guess my biggest thing would be, what I was told and what I knew growing up, that’s not the world I live in today," he explained. "So understanding that opened up my eyes, opened up my ears, opened up my heart and opened up my mind to something that’s bigger."

He said that having that mentality allowed him to look at and support his children differently.

"You can listen to them different, you can hear them differently," he said, adding he's just trying to be the best dad he can be.

"I’m just trying to make sure the coyotes in Woodland Hills don’t get into my yard!" he said, referring to a recent incident where a father saved his toddler daughter who was being dragged away by a coyote. "Like, I’m trying to be that kind of dad, you know. That’s my job."

Wade and Funches-Wade's ongoing courthouse dispute over how to respond to Zaya's transition has also bled into social media.

After Funches-Wade's November objection, which asked the court to force Zaya to wait until "the age of majority" to make permanent changes to her identity, the former NBA player responded on Instagram and in court.

"No one in our house would ever force Zaya or any of our children to do anything against their will, much less force an identity on them," he wrote in a post on Nov. 3. "This isn’t a game for my family and definitely not for Zaya. This is her life!"

In court documents filed on Nov. 28, his legal team argued that the legal gender change wasn't about her parents or their previous marriage, just what "Zaya wants and what is in her best interest."

"This Petition is about empowering Zaya to live her truth," the court filings said. Wade's legal team argued that the teen should be focused on growing up and being joyful rather than "being clouded by the self-doubt that comes from checking a box or signing a name that does not reflect her identity."

On Tuesday night, Wade presented “Stranger Things” star Noah Schnapp, 18, with the male TV star of the year award at the People's Choice Awards.

When he spoke with TODAY.com, Wade said his personal "person of the year" award goes to his wife, Gabrielle Union. He said she's a great inspiration to him — especially how hard she works everyday both as a mother and businesswoman.

"I realized that I have way more work to do," he said. "Like, I haven’t accomplished enough because I’m in a house with somebody that motivates me and pushes me every day to be greater."