Zaya Wade continues to be a hot topic for grown men too invested in her choices. The teen daughter of Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union has not shied away from her spotlight since coming out at trans. Instead, she has leaned into it and has, with the help of her parents, been helping create conversations about LGBTQIA+ youth and their place in society. Zaya recently paid tribute to family friend and NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant with a custom dress made out of one of his jerseys. Fellow NBA vet Kwame Brown took issue with this and called out Zaya for “disrespecting” Bryant and his legacy.
January 26, 2022, marked two years since Kobe, Gianna, and several others perished in a tragic helicopter crash. The impact of their loss has been felt throughout the two years since, with several family members, friends, and fans paying tribute to them on social media this past week.
Zaya’s father Dwyane paid tribute to his fallen friend in his recent memoir Dwyane, discussing what it felt like to play against Kobe over the years. “I only played Kobe twice a year, but those two nights were always special.” He went on to say, “I thank him for not only inspiring myself and my kids — I thank him for inspiring generations that will outlive myself and everybody else in this world.”
Zaya took to her IG account last week to thank Kobe for his inspiration as well in a custom Lakers jersey dress created by fashion line Gypsy Sport. “Always remembering and honoring Kobe and Gianna. ♡” she said in her caption. The second image was one of her and her father smiling with Vanessa and Natalia Bryant. Both Dwyane and Gabrielle jumped in the comments section to support their daughter, as well as Natalia who commented several heart emojis.
Gypsy Sport elaborated on the garment, saying, “She is the moment! @zayawade ☀️ pictured here wearing the “8” dress from our Spring ’22 collection 🏀 as a fashion tribute to #KobeBryant 👑 and his beautiful daughter Gianna 💛”
Despite all the support from fans in the comments, Kwame Brown was not feeling it and spoke out on his podcast Bust Life. Brown first criticized Dwyane claiming that he is “letting his woman control his house,” implying that the outfit was possibly Gabrielle Union’s idea. He tells Dwyane Wade he needs to “level up as a man” and says that Kobe’s kids and wife have not honored him by wearing a dress, so why is Zaya doing so. He then went on to call Zaya a homosexual man that should not be paying homage to Kobe because Kobe was heterosexual. Brown says that making the jersey into a dress was disrespectful.
“Let’s please not show our Black brother in this light. This is no offense to [anyone] else. This man was a heterosexual man with a wife and a family. There’s no reason for this to be tied to Kobe Bryant. None whatsoever,” he said.
Brown is not the first man to take issue with Zaya Wade and her lifestyle. Rapper Lil Boosie has famously taken issue with Zaya’s transition and her family’s support. He has gone on several rants over the years, accusing the Wades of letting Zaya “chop off” her genitalia and making drastic life choices at a very young age. He got a lot of backlash from this and eventually backtracked his comments after being approached by Mike Tyson, who also has a trans child.
B2K’s Lil Fizz also had something to say following Zaya Wade’s interview with Michelle Obama. The You Got Served star called the teen’s transition “demonic” and stated, “This child shouldn’t be the front runner of the movement.” The ladies of The Real covered this story and expressed how disappointed they are in Brown and his opinion. Loni Love points out that jersey dresses have been a fashion statement for years, with the Laker Girls often sporting these during events and games. Adrienne added that Brown’s comments felt transphobic and that if this had been one of Kobe’s daughters modeling the dress there would be no issues.
Garcelle Beauvais spoke out as a mother stressing how unacceptable it is to talk about someone’s child. The women go on to highlight how close Wade and Bryant were and how Brown is missing the point that Zaya is paying tribute and not being disrespectful. “His judgment is not reflective of what she is doing.”