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Dwyane Wade Details Parenting 'Partnership' with Gabrielle Union: 'I Can't Always Be the Good Cop'

Maria Pasquini

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union both trade off on being the disciplinarian at home.

“She started telling me that she can’t always be the bad cop and I can’t always be the good cop,” the retired NBA star, 38, tells PEOPLE exclusively about how he and his wife balance parenting duties.

“It’s just like anything else in a partnership. You sit down and you talk to each other about whatever the situation is,” he explains. “Both of you bring in whatever expertise you feel like you have on this topic to the table. And you figure out which one makes the most sense or which parts of yours and mine makes the most sense.”

Summing up their parenting style, he notes, “It’s a partnership.”

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Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union with daughters Kaavia and Zaya

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When Wade and his longtime love, 47, tied the knot in 2014, the actress became a stepmother to his three children Zaire Blessing Dwyane, 18, Xavier Zechariah, 6, and Zaya, 12, who recently revealed she identifies as female. Wade is also the guardian of nephew Dahveon Morris, 18.

The pair welcomed their 15-month-old daughter Kaavia James in 2018 via surrogacy.

Ahead of the release of his documentary, D. Wade: Life Unexpected, Wade goes on to tell PEOPLE that he’s incredibly proud of the Being Mary Jane actress.

“She is her own boss and has her own career, her own bank account and all that,” he says, adding that Union “has her own life and she allows me to live my life and be me.”

“We both work very hard for our families and we love that about each other,” Wade continues. “We love that we grind, we go for it, we work, but we still find time for our family and find time to spend time together and love each other.”

Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

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Although the former Miami Heat star, who retired from the NBA in April 2019, accomplished a lot during his 16-year career — including winning three NBA championships — the game has had the biggest impact on his family.

“Basketball has given me sort of like, ‘There go the Wades right there. We see them.’ So, I’m proud of that,” he says. “I’m proud of being the one in my family that could put us on the sheet somewhere where people will remember, hopefully, our impact as a family.”

D. Wade: Life Unexpected premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN.