Dwyane Wade on Finding the Power of His Voice

Aafter three NBA championships, 13 All-Star appearances and 16 years in the league, Dwyane Wade knows what it feels like to dominate on the court. But the retired superstar knows he didn’t have the most power back then.

“My strongest point has not been my ability to score and dunk and win championships,” he said at the TIME100 Gala Wednesday in New York City. “My most powerful is my voice and just that I’m human and understand what’s happening in the world and talk about it.”

The 2020 TIME100 list member is increasingly finding his voice to speak out against injustice. He delivered a powerful speech at the opening of the 2016 ESPYs award show, urging his fellow athletes to use their fame to promote social change. He continues to advocate on behalf of communities of color and underprivileged youth through the Wade Family Foundation.

“We will continue to support people on the ground [who are] do the work,” he said. “We will continue to use our voice, continue to do the things we can to make sure this world is a better place.”

At Tuesday’s TIME100 summit, he spoke out passionately against lawmakers passing anti-transgender laws, while expressing fears for the safety of his trans daughter Zaya. “Come and live with my daughter for a day,” he said on Tuesday. “Come and see what it’s like to walk through this world like her.”

While on the red carpet of the Gala, Wade also sent a message to transgender youth and those who are discriminated against because of their sexuality and feelings. “I want to tell them I love them,” he said. “I am proud of them. Stay who you are. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. I knew what I wanted to do when I was young, so no one has to tell you.”

Returning after a two-year hiatus, the TIME100 Gala is the annual celebration of the TIME100 list of the world’s most influential people, released this year on May 23. The Gala brings together icons, leaders, changemakers and celebrities from all sectors and nations for a lively evening of meaningful dialogue and celebration. This year’s Gala features live performances by Miranda Lambert and Mary J. Blige, two honorable mentions on the 2022 TIME100 list. Other attendees on this year’s list include actors Andrew Garfield, Ariana DeBose and Amanda Seyfried, musicians Jazmine Sullivan , Jon Batiste and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, athlete Eileen Gu, director Taika Waititi and legal activist Chase Strangio,

TIME has partnered with ABC to bring viewers to the exclusive TIME100 Gala with a special televised event for the first time. TIME100: The World’s Most Influential People broadcast Sunday, June 12 at 8 p.m. EDT on ABCwith host Simu Liu, director Quinta Brunson, Ukrainian journalist Sevgil Musaieva and more.

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write to Nick Popli at nick.popli@time.com.

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