All of us know that coming out can be a fraught and stressful process. It always helps to have allies, especially if you’re in the public eye.
On Saturday, Zaya Wade found out that she has 17,374 of them.
As part of the Miami Heat’s retirement ceremonies that evening for her father, NBA legend Dwyane Wade, the team put together a tribute video featuring testimonials from the 13-time All Star’s family. During a timeout in the second quarter of Miami’s game against Cleveland, the Heat played the video on the arena Jumbotron.
Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Someone actually posted a video on Twitter that makes you feel good about humanity. No wonder Dwyane Wade expresses so much love and support for his daughter — she can work miracles.
As soon as Zaya Wade appeared on the big screen, the Heat crowd erupted in loud and prolonged cheers. They were there to honor the face of Heat basketball, but this moment sent a loud and clear message: they were also going to honor the bravery of Zaya Wade along the way.
Their applause was the Miami fanbase’s way of telling Zaya that she was welcomed and accepted as her authentic self. And as great an honor as retiring Dwyane Wade’s number was, this was an even bigger honor for him as a father, as he declared afterward that his relationship with Zaya was “real life for me.”
As the trans daughter of an NBA superstar, Zaya has been the subject of some ugly online backlash during her coming out process. In the face of that, a moment like this took on a vital importance because it showed that a literal arena full of people supported her for who she is.
In doing so, the fans gave Wade a very appropriate tribute. Because just as he did so many times on the court, they stepped up when it mattered most.