‘A safe space’: NBA great Dwyane Wade back in Miami to launch website for trans youth

Dwyane Wade was back in familiar territory Thursday afternoon.

The retired Miami Heat legend, whose No. 3 jersey hangs in the rafters at the Kaseya Center, was back in town for a good cause that had nothing to do with basketball.

Wade was on stage at the Edition hotel at the Elevate Prize Foundation’s second annual Make Good Famous Summit. The NBA icon was honored for his advocacy for the transgender community and using his influence to ignite social change.

Wade, 42, was presented with the local nonprofit’s Elevate Prize Catalyst Award, whose previous recipients include actors Michael J. Fox and Matt Damon, along with $250,000 in unrestricted funding.

“Dwyane’s tireless dedication to the trans community and racial justice has illuminated the path toward a more inclusive future,” said Carolina García Jayaram, CEO of the Elevate Prize Foundation. “By bravely confronting societal norms and advocating for change, Dwyane has not only reshaped perceptions but also inspired countless individuals to be more supportive and to embrace authenticity.”

The NBA Hall of Famer told the audience he’d be using the money to launch a project called Translatable. The Chicago native explained that the digital platform will serve as a “safe space” for transgender youth to express themselves, as well as provide educational tools and “support their growth, mental health, and well-being.”

The cause is way personal for Wade, whose daughter Zaya (with ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches) came out as transgender in 2020. Zaya turns 17 on May 29 and is “the catalyzing force behind Translatable,” said Wade.

The famed Heat guard, who now lives in California, seemed happy to be back in the 305, and admitted it was difficult to leave Wade County, where he is so beloved.

He told Showtime’s “Headliners” last year that Florida’s LGBTQ+ legislation was the key issue and that he had to make decisions that didn’t necessarily revolve around him.

“I’m so very proud of the daughter I’ve had the opportunity to raise,” he said in a dual video on the new site with Zaya. “She has been my biggest educator and inspiration of what it means to be truly you.”