Zaire Wade doesn't care what you think of him, or his reasons for choosing the BAL

Zaire Wade on why he's stopped trying to please everyone (0:48)

Cape Town Tigers' Zaire Wade opens up on why he no longer worries about trying to please everybody. (0:48)

CAIRO - Zaire Wade is no longer concerned about what his critics think of him, nor does he care what anyone thinks about his decision to play for the Cape Town Tigers in this year's Basketball Africa League (BAL).

The 21-year-old point guard, son of NBA legend Dwyane Wade, was chosen by the Tigers after appearing at the BAL Combine in Paris earlier in the year, and has become the star media attraction at the ongoing Nile Conference in Cairo.

He handles the constant (constant!) questions about, and comparisons to, his father with the grace and poise of a child raised in the spotlight, but gets more defensive than Anthony Davis when the BAL gets spoken about in negative terms.

Wade, who was out of the game for nearly a year after injuring his knee with Salt Lake City in the G League, told ESPN: "I just stopped trying [to please critics] after a while.

"I think that's where growth comes in, maturing - I've just turned 21, so I'm just learning that I'm not going to be able to please [everybody] at the end of the day.

"People are still saying stuff about me being in this great league that they really have no idea about. They're not even watching. They just hear 'Basketball Africa League' and kind of pass it off. It's the wrong perception they have about this league.

"It's the NBA's league - very competitive. There are former NBA guys, guys who were just in the NBA last year. There are G-League guys. Even the locals on every team are the best around their area."

Al Ahly's Nuni Omot made the New York Knicks' training camp last year, while Wade has teammates with NBA regular season experience in Mike Gbinije (Detroit Pistons) and Josh Hall (Oklahoma City Thunder).

However, arguably the most decorated competitor in the BAL sits on the Tigers coaching bench - their head coach, Rasheed Hazzard, is a two-time NBA champion with the Lakers, where he was an assistant coach for their 2009 and 2010 championships and also worked as a scout.

Hazzard also intimately understands the expectations placed on young Wade, as he himself is the son of a basketball great, 1968 NBA All-Star Walt Hazzard, who played for the Lakers and Seattle SuperSonics, amongst others.

Wade is infinitely grateful for Hazzard's mentorship: "I think that [having a shared experience of exceptionally successful fathers] helps us a lot. I think that's kind of a connection we have that doesn't need to be really said. We both just kind of understand that feeling.

"I've had some trouble this past month dealing with certain things affecting me and he was the first one there to hold me - not even as a coach, but as an uncle figure, coming up to me and really just telling me that he's got me and just giving me his experiences as well, so that I can see it from a different perspective - someone who has walked a very similar path.

"I think it's good that God put us together because we can relate to each other in a way that not a lot of people can. Growing up, having parents who were successful, especially doing something in the same field they were in, it's tough."

Tigers coach Hazzard on Dwyane Wade's son: 'Zaire is a tough young player'

Cape Town Tigers made a key signing in Zaire Wade ahead of the current BAL season, and head coach Rasheed Hazzard had nothing but praise for Dwyane Wade's son.

So far, so good, as Wade contributed nine points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench in the Tigers' opening win against Guinean side SLAC.

Wade, by his own admission, struggled to settle into the game in the first half, but in the third quarter, he found his rhythm and played a major role in the team recovering from 45-37 down.

"I think it was just my first game, first time being out there [in the BAL]. I had to just let all the nerves go in the first quarter and once I sat in the locker room at half-time, I just told myself: 'Let's go.' We got our feet wet and then, in the second half, played with a bit more confidence," he said.

Even in the defeat to Petro de Luanda, Wade had bright moments, with Hazzard passionately defending him in his post-match press conference.

"He did his part as best as he could. Let me remind everybody: you're not watching Dwyane Wade; I'm not coaching Dwyane Wade, so there's no need to ask about his father - any comparisons, none of that stuff," Hazzard said.

"The best version of Zaire is more than enough for Cape Town Tigers and more than enough for me as a coach. I think he's been unbelievable and he's shown his class not just as a player but as a human being."

It is just as well that Wade is finding his groove on the court, as he is expecting an imminent visit from his dad. Despite all the challenges of living up to him, Wade has no hang up or doubts about Dwyane's love for his kids.

"He hasn't given me an exact date yet because he wants to keep me on my toes, but he'll be out here soon," Wade revealed.

"It's true [what people say about him] being a father first. He's always done that, so I know I'll see him soon. We'll have our moment; we'll have our talk and then get to work."

The Tigers must finish in the top four in Cairo in order to advance to the playoffs in Kigali, Rwanda, at the end of May.

The BAL airs on ESPN's channels in Africa. Follow the schedule and scores here.