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Dwyane Wade: #Girldad

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It still feels surreal to type out that Kobe Bryant passed away on January 26th, 2020. It still feels painful to talk about Kobe, as a father, passing away with one of his daughters, Gigi. In part, that pain comes from just how passionate a father Kobe was. In a touching clip, Sportscenters’ Elle Duncan described to us an encounter she had with Kobe, and the enjoyment he had being a “girl dad.”

“Without hesitation, I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad,” Kobe told her. The strength of Elle to push through the tears and share that story went viral. Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets became flooded with #GirlDads everywhere, and men across the country used her moment on Sportscenter to show how proud of their own daughters they are.

This week, Dwyane Wade also used his public platform to show us how proud he is in the strength of his daughter, Zaya. Zaya, who was born Zion, has asked the family for support in transitioning into who she wants to identify as. Wade spoke publicly about his 12 year old daughter on Ellen DeGeneres’ show Ellen.

The family has only continued to love and support Zaya in her transition. Gabrielle Union took to twitter to put her love into words.

The Wade family’s oldest child, Zaire, took to Instagram to show similar sentiments:

As Dwyane told Ellen, Zaya has an opportunity to one day be a leader in the LGBTQ+ community’s push for equality. And for now, since she’s just a 12 year old kid, Dwyane and Gabrielle have taken it upon themselves to be those leaders and allies.

While Zaya’s contributions to the world are in the future, her loving parents, with the power they have as public figures, are making a large one right now.

Dwyane Wade, the retired pro basketball player, will soon be a Hall of Famer. Dwyane Wade, the retired pro basketball player, has 3 NBA championships. Dwyane Wade, retired pro basketball player, has played in 13 NBA All Star games, won medals at two Olympics, led the league in scoring, been on multiple all-Defensive teams, and even won an NBA Finals MVP. Dwyane Wade, the retired pro basketball player, played with a reckless toughness he earned growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Dwyane Wade, the retired pro basketball player, grew up without a father and found his role model in Michael Jordan playing for the Chicago Bulls across town.  

But Dwyane Wade, the girl dad, is beginning something that may have an even longer impact, and becoming a role model for a lot more than just kids with hoop aspirations.  

Wade could have been a supportive father in private, been there for his daughter when she needs him off camera, and truthfully he wouldn’t have been any less of a father. There are a lot of great, loyal, and caring parents that don’t have or use the platform that Wade used on Tuesday.

But Dwyane Wade decided to be as public as possible. Wade’s public support, and his dedication to being his daughter’s father and an ally, will have an impact that’s hard to measure today. LGBTQ+ children that will know, regardless of who isn’t an ally, that an NBA hero is their ally.

Wade has been philanthropic in a way that exceeds expectations since he entered the league in 2003. His work with youth in Chicago and South Florida is noted, his donations to relief work is nearly annual. His presence at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital is strong. And now? He is a face for the parents of trans children everywhere.

Wade chose to be that face on Tuesday when he spoke with Ellen. He chose to tell the world he is a girl dad and an LGBTQ+ dad because he loves his child and puts her needs above his own. The strength in doing that publicly is awe inspiring.

And still, it pales in comparison to Zaya’s strength in coming to her family, and now the world, as her real self.

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Basketball

Mike Conley Jr. Removed From the Utah Jazz Starting Lineup Amid Slump

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When the Memphis Grizzlies traded for Mike Conley Jr. in July, it appeared that he was the finishing piece that would put their roster over the top.

Conley was coming off a season with the Grizzlies in which he averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game as one of the best point guards in the NBA.

Utah expected him to be the perfect fit alongside All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, but that hasn’t worked out as planned.

Now the Jazz have decided to make a move to spark their team after losing eight of their last 12 games by sliding Conley to the bench.

The move to add Royce O’Neale into the starting lineup is aimed to bolster the defense of that group, with O’Neale being the teams best perimeter defender.

By moving O’Neale to play with that unit, Joe Ingles can slid into the backcourt alongside Mitchell and take on a more prominent role on offense.

Ingles and Rudy Gobert are potent together in the pick and roll and taking the ball out of Conley’s hands with that starting group is aimed to help that pairing flourish as well.

On the other hand, Conley now moves to the bench, where he can form a really dynamic scoring punch with Jordan Clarkson.

Conley is averaging 13.4 points and a career-low 4.1 assists per game across 34 games played with the Jazz.

Next year will be the final season of a massive five-year, $152.6 million contract he signed with the Grizzlies. The Jazz are on the hook to pay Conley $34.5 million for the 2020-21 NBA season.

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Hornets’ Guard Malik Monk Suspended Indefinitely for Violating Anti-Drug Policy

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Malik Monk was in the middle of his pivotal third season in the NBA and was just hitting his stride with a recent hot streak.

Unfortunately that string of good play now comes to the end due to his conduct off the court, as Monk has been suspended indefinitely by the NBA for violating their anti-drug policy.

There is no indication what Monk has failed the test for, but he will need to follow the NBA’s program to be reinstated into the league.

Monk was the 11th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, after being the SEC Player of the Year in his lone season at Kentucky.

Since entering the league, Monk has struggled to find his footing and that same level of success, but he was just recently on a great run of scoring.

The suspension paired with his better play has led some to question whether it was performance-enhancing drugs that he was suspended for, although we don’t know that at this time.

When Deandre Ayton and John Collins were suspended this season, each received 25-game bans and were then able to return to the floor.

The substances they were suspended for were also announced to the public at the time of their suspensions.

The fact that we don’t know what he was suspended for, or how long of a suspension he will receive is certainly an interesting distinction when it comes to Monk.

It will be interesting to see what information comes out about Monk’s suspension in the coming days and if an actual timetable is put on his return.

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Stephen Curry to Return to the Lineup on Sunday Against the Washington Wizards

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The Golden State Warriors season essentially ended on October 30th, when an awkward fall resulted in a broken hand for Stephen Curry.

Curry has since been sidelined for four months and in his absence, the Warriors have gone 11-43 and sit with the wowarst record in the NBA.

Luckily things are about to get a lot better for Warriors fans, as Curry is set to return to lineup for Golden State on Sunday.

Adding a six-time All-Star, three-time champion and two-time MVP back into the starting lineup is sure to help the Warriors win a few more games down the stretch.

In the four games Curry played this year he shot 24% from three-point range, which is something he will look to clean up over the final games of this season.

Golden State has their eyes toward the future, looking to land a top lottery pick to their roster and incumbent Big Three of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

The Warriors have 25 games left this season and are four games behind the closest team for the worst record in the NBA.

As long as Golden State finishes with one of the three worst records in the NBA, they will have the best possible odds of winning the lottery. So Curry’s arrival should not hurt their position in that regard.

Instead Curry will bring some excitement to an ailing fan base, while building some chemistry with Andrew Wiggins and the other young Warriors that may be on the roster next season.

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