By: Christina Santi
Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade bought an ownership stake in the Utah Jazz, becoming one of the organization’s minority owners, the team announced last Friday.
The small ownership group includes Wade, majority owner and team governor Ryan Smith and his wife, Ashley; Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes; investor and Accel partner Ryan Sweeney; and the Miller family, who previously owned the Jazz.
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The retired basketball star credits Smith, who he met on a golf course in 2019, with his involvement of the team.
“As a businessman, entrepreneur, and investor, I bring a lot to this partnership outside of my basketball experience,” Wade, said in a statement. “I’m excited to help take the Utah Jazz to the next level.”
Wade is not the first Hall of Fame-level player that has NBA ownership stakes. Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill are minority owners of the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks, respectively. Michael Jordan is a majority of the Charlotte Hornets. Magic Johnson previously had a small stake in the LA Lakers.
“This goes way beyond the dream I had to just play basketball in the NBA,” Wade told ESPN. “I’ve seen Shaq do it in Sacramento. I’ve seen Grant Hill do it in Atlanta. I’ve seen Jordan do it in Charlotte.”
Even with the examples of owners before him, the three-time NBA champion is aware that many players do not get ownership opportunities. With his role, he wants to be in a more hands-on position.
“Unfortunately, people in my community don’t get this opportunity, and I do not take it lightly to have this opportunity,” Wade continued with ESPN. “To make real change, this is where you have to be — at the top — and Ryan knows that. I’m thankful for him, and I know too that I bring a lot to this partnership outside of just my basketball knowledge and skills.”
“Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being,” said Smith in a statement. “As we continue to build on the incredible legacy of the Utah Jazz franchise, we are excited to add Dwyane’s experience and expertise to the equation. Utah is an amazing place and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the future of the franchise and the future of this state. Dwyane’s influence will be important to both.”
Wade’s wife congratulated him on the partnership tweeting, “Let’s GOOOOOOO!!! So proud of you baby,” on Friday afternoon.
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) April 16, 2021
Heat Owner Micky Arison congratulated Wade as well. He expressed some disappointment that the Heat icon did not become an owner of the Florida franchise after his retirement. “I want to congratulate Dwyane on his recent announcement,” Arison tweeted. “We had discussed having him join our ownership group after his retirement but he was not prepared to commit at the time.”
I want to congratulate Dwyane on his recent announcement. We had discussed having him join our ownership group after his retirement but he was not prepared to commmit at the time. Of course I am disappointed that he didn’t reconsider. 1/2
— Micky Arison (@MickyArison) April 16, 2021
Wade also has other business partnerships including Hisense, Li-Ning, MISSION, Budweiser, Wade Cellars, and 800° Woodfired Kitchen.