After three NBA championships, 13 All-Star appearances, and 16 years in the league, Dwyane Wade knows how it feels to be dominating on the court. But the retired superstar knows that’s not when he had the most power.

“My most powerful tool wasn’t my ability to score and dunk and win championships,” he said at the TIME100 Gala Wednesday in New York City. “My most powerful tool is my voice and just me being a human and understanding what’s going on in the world and speaking on it.”

The 2020 TIME100 list member has been increasingly finding his voice in speaking out against injustice. He delivered a powerful speech during 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 disadvantaged youth through the Wade Family Foundation.

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

At the TIME100 Summit on Tuesday, he spoke out passionately against lawmakers who are passing antitransgender laws, as he expressed fear for the safely of his trans daughter Zaya.“Come and live a day with my daughter,” he said Tuesday. “Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”

While on the red carpet at the Gala, Wade also sent a message to transgender youth and those facing discrimination due to their sexuality and feelings. “I want to tell them I love them,” he said. “I’m proud of them. Continue to be who you are. Don’t let anybody tell you who you are. I knew what I wanted to do when I was young, so no-one needs to tell you.”

Returning after two years on pause, the TIME100 Gala is TIME’s 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, change-makers, and celebrities from across industries and nations for one lively evening of meaningful dialogue and celebration. This year’s Gala features live performances from Miranda Lambert and Mary J. Blige, two honorees on the 2022 TIME100 list. Further attendees from 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 is teaming up with ABC to bring viewers inside the exclusive TIME100 Gala for the first time with a special television event. TIME100: The World’s Most Influential People airs Sunday, June 12 at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC, featuring host Simu Liu, director Quinta Brunson, Ukrainian journalist Sevgil Musaieva, and more.

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