Dwyane Wade is now an owner of an NBA team. The former Miami Heat star and three-time NBA champion has purchased an ownership stake in the Utah Jazz and plans to take an active role in the franchise and region, according to ESPN. He will join team majority owner and governor Ryan Smith, who purchased a majority stake in the Jazz back in October.
“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 joins a small ownership group that includes, Smith, his wife Ashley, Accel partner Ryan Sweeney, Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brooks and the Miller family, who were the previous majority owners of the Jazz.
“Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being,” Ryan Smith, said 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.”
It's not clear how much ownership Wade, 39, has, but ESPN mentions the NBA has a bylaw that ownership stakes can be no less than 1% of the team. “Partnering with Ryan and the Utah Jazz is the perfect fit as we share the same vision and values,” Wade said. “Not only is this group focused on building a championship franchise, they are also committed to using their platform to do good and actively create a more inclusive, equitable world. We share a lot of the same goals and are trying to go the same places in life.”
Wade, who retired from the NBA as a player in 2019, joins a shortlist of former players that are now NBA owners. That list includes Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets), Shaquille O’Neal (Sacramento Kings) and Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks). When talking to ESPN, Wade gave a lot of respect for the Heat, a place he spent 14 seasons of his career.
"The respect I that I have for that [Heat] organization will not go anywhere, the love that I have for the [Heat] fans -- that goes nowhere," Wade said. "But this is about the next phase of my life as an investor, a businessman, an entrepreneur. For me, this is an opportunity to grow."