Dwyane Wade may be stepping into political arena in the wake of Florida’s conservative overhaul

Wade's support for LGBTQ+ rights — which affect his 15-year-old transgender daughter, Zaya — is a major force behind the backing for his possible political run.

Dwyane Wade could be stepping into a line of work that would further catapult him into the public eye.

The former Miami Heat point guard — now in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — has finally responded to reports that Florida Democrats were considering him and fellow NBA legend Grant Hill as potential contenders for a U.S. Senate candidacy in 2024, People reported.

“I mean, it’s just conversation,” Wade admitted. “‘Hey, you would be good for,’ ‘Hey, we can see you in,’ ‘We would love to have you in.'”

Dwyane Wade said any future role in politics is “just conversations” for now. Here, the former Miami Heat point guard speaks on Aug. 12 at his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Wade said he heard about the discussions when asked by The New York Times recently to address the rumors, which surfaced in May following a report that Democratic donor groups mentioned both of the former basketball players.

He acknowledged that people had asked him about running for office, but he laughed off any inquiries about whether he would genuinely think about doing so. 

“It’s things that I’m passionate about that I will speak out on and speak up for,” said Wade. “And so I don’t play the politician games. I don’t know a lot about it.”

Efforts to recruit either Wade or Hill for a run in Florida come from a desire to defeat the incumbent, far-right Sen. Rick Scott, a former governor.

In February, Scott shared several initiatives targeting LGBTQ+ rights as part of his “11-Point Plan to Rescue America.” The plan attacked the “radical left” for what Scott called a drive to “devalue and redefine the traditional family,” an apparent attack on same-sex marriage, and asked for national restrictions on laws surrounding transgender women in sports.

Wade’s support for LGBTQ+ rights is a major driving force behind the backing for any possible political run. He and his actress wife, Gabrielle Union, are parents to three children, including 15-year-old Zaya. 

Zaya came out as transgender in 2020. Since then, the Hollywood power couple has been vocal about supporting transgender rights. 

The Wade family recently relocated from Florida to California due to a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law.

DeSantis, a 2024 presidential candidate, has signed and expanded the “Don’t Say Gay” law, banned the teaching of Advanced Placement African American Studies at public high schools, supported legislation requiring educators to teach students that Black people benefited from slavery, and overturned diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at colleges.

Ray Paultre, executive director of progressive donor organization The Florida Alliance, has called Wade “a Florida legend whose leadership past and present has a lot of folks in our state sending feelers out.”

At the time, Paultre noted that “both parties have seen former athletes bring something special to the political landscape,” calling Wade one of the top four or five prospects who could go against Scott.

An unnamed veteran Democratic operative from the state said party leaders and top donors know that to run statewide elections, they need a variety of candidates with varied backgrounds.

The insider said there is a small list of former athletes and business leaders who would fit the description, “and Dwyane Wade tops that list.”

Wade has said he is aware of the importance of his platform, and he recognizes it’s part of his responsibility as an American citizen and well-known figure to draw attention to and speak out on issues others may not be able to because they lack the opportunity.

However, it appears he still needs more time before deciding whether or not to throw his hat into Florida’s political arena.

“I have to make decisions for my family, not just personal, individual decisions,” Wade said during an episode of “Headliners” this spring, People reported. “I mean, obviously, the tax [situation] is great. Having Wade County is great. But my family would not be accepted or feel comfortable there. And so that’s one of the reasons why I don’t live there.”

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