MIAMI BEACH, Florida, USA – Former NBA star Dwyane Wade returned to South Florida on Thursday to fight another battle.

Wade, a Hall of Famer, spent more than 14 seasons as point guard for the Miami Heat, with whom he won three championships. He led Miami-Dade County to be nicknamed “Wade County”. And he still leads the franchise in all major categories, from points and rebounds to personal fouls.

But the struggle he outlined Thursday at The Elevate Prize Foundation’s Make Good Famous Summit, after receiving the Catalyst Award from the nonprofit Elevate Prize, would be the most personal of all.

“We’ve done a lot of great things here, so it wasn’t easy to leave,” Wade told The Associated Press in an interview before the awards ceremony. “But the community wasn’t here for Zaya, so the community wasn’t here for us.”

Wade’s daughter Zaya turns 17 next week. She defined herself as transgender in 2020, amid legislation against people of that orientation in Florida and other states.

That law resulted in many transgender adults fleeing Florida.

Wade’s family sold their Florida home last year and moved to California.

Upon receiving the award, Wade shared it with Zaya, whom he credited with inspiring the creation of Translatable, a new online community designed to support transgender children and their families.

“The question was presented to her as, ‘If there was one thing you wanted to change in this community, what would it be?” recalled Wade. “And for her, it was all directed at their parents, at the adults, directly at us. It’s not the kids, it’s us. And so she wanted to create a space that felt safe for parents and their kids. That’s Translatable, and it’s her creation.”

Wade hopes that Translatable, funded by the Wade Family Foundation, will bring a community that “supports growth, mental health and wellness, and that this space will generate more conversations that lead to greater understanding and acceptance.”

The former basketball player revealed that he will use the $250,000 in unrestricted funds included in the Translatable award.

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