Dwyane Wade‘s family has settled in to their new surroundings in Los Angeles, but like any coastal move, it hasn’t been a 100 percent smooth transition.
The retired NBA star, 38, sat down with PEOPLE this week for an exclusive interview leading up to his documentary D. Wade: Life Unexpected, saying that the transition from Florida (where he spent the majority of his 16-year NBA career playing for the Miami Heat) to Los Angeles has “definitely” been tough.
“We miss Miami,” says Wade, who retired from professional basketball last year. “Of course, that definitely had become home to us, especially my kids. But my wife [Gabrielle Union] works in L.A., my daughters lived in L.A. with my wife, so we’ve got to go. My home is where my family is.”
Wade and Union’s immediate family includes their 15-month-old daughter Kaavia James, as well as the basketball legend’s daughter Zaya, 12, plus sons Xavier Zechariah, 6, and Zaire, 18. He’s also guardian of nephew Dahveon Morris, 18.
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Dwyane Wade Reflects on What Basketball Gave Him Ahead of Doc Release: “It Restored My Family”
“At the end of it, something great is going to come out of it,” Wade notes of their move.
The athlete reveals that living in Los Angeles has “just been different than living in Miami,” because his former star position on the South Florida city’s basketball team had him instantly recognizable by the public.
“In Miami, I have not been able to really go out and enjoy just being a father as much because I’m Dwyane Wade in Miami,” he explains. “But in L.A., I’ve been able to do a little bit more because no one cares about me like that.”
“It’s a different level of fishbowl with people seeing me in Miami,” Wade adds. “So I’ve enjoyed being able to parent on the West Coast.”
Wade tells PEOPLE it’s “so hard” to watch his children struggle and figure out the best way to be there for them, “especially when you’ve got the answers” but want them to learn and grow on their own.
“You just want to give it to them, but you also understand that they’ve got to go through it. And that’s the toughest part as a parent, because you don’t want them to go through it,” he says. “But they need to. If they’re ever going to really learn, it’s got to be learned by experience.”
D. Wade: Life Unexpected premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN.
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