Dwayne Wade
(Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Dwyane Wade Is Now A Partial Owner Of Jazz

Dwyane Wade bought a share of the Utah Jazz to join majority owner and team governor, Ryan Smith today. Wade plans to make a true impact on the team and on the community of Salt Lake City. D-Wade is also joining an elite club of former NBA players who also have ownership stakes in teams, including Shaquille O’Neal (Sacramento Kings), Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks), and Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets). Even a former MLB star, Alex Rodriguez decided this past week that he wanted to get in on the massive business that is the NBA and buy an ownership stake in the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Dwyane Wade was not just known around the league as a three-time champion and eight-time All-NBA player, but he was known for being a class act and a genuinely good guy. So his decision to buy a stake in the Jazz was not a decision made for fame or his ego; he truly wants to make a difference.

“Unfortunately, people in my community don’t get this opportunity, and I do not take it lightly to have this opportunity,” Wade said, “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.”

A small-market team like Utah could definitely use Wade’s experience to their advantage. Wade seen all sides of the business as a player, and he can certainly make a meaningful contribution to a Jazz team that has a lot of talent but has not had the ability to get over the playoff hump in recent years. The ownership group of the Jazz (aside from Wade) only consists of Ryan Smith, his wife, Ashley, investor Ryan Sweeney, Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brooks, and the Miller family who were previous owners of the Jazz.

How Did Dwyane Wade Get Involved?

Dwayne Wade and Ryan Smith met on a golf course in San Clemente, California back in 2019, right after Wade had just retired from the NBA. From there, they became close friends and Wade continued to soak up knowledge about Smith’s involvement in the tech industry, as well as Smith’s company, Qualtrics. Smith then brought up to Wade the idea of taking an ownership stake in October of that same year right around the time Smith paid $1.6 billion for the franchise. The NBA only allows ownership stakes of no less than 1%, but it remains unknown how much of a stake Wade has at the moment.

Why Did Dwyane Wade Get Involved?

Dwyane Wade has also been a very public advocate for several movements going on in the United States, including the fight for equality among African-Americans, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. This could also be one of the many factors in why Wade wanted a stake in a franchise and in a league where athletes’ voices hold a lot of weight. Smith seemed to agree with that sentiment himself, saying:

“There is a broad picture here. It’s much more than just basketball. This league is the biggest platform that there is, and we ran toward that. This isn’t a league where we came in saying, ‘Hey, this has gone somewhere we’re not comfortable with.’ This is actually what we signed up for. We’re the newest ownership group. We’re the youngest. Dwyane’s a perfect fit.”

Wade also made himself very clear about his motive in the ownership industry, and had this to say:

We’re not running away from the racial and social and LGBTQ conversations,” Wade told ESPN. “I’m committed to doing the work. I talk about the LGBTQ community, which everyone knows is important to me. My daughter is part of that community.

Out of all the former athletes that have become owners of NBA teams, I think it is fair to say that Dwyane Wade has the purest of intentions, and he’s a person that can do a lot of good in this world outside the game of basketball. The business side of the NBA is plenty big, but the league’s involvement in politics and social issues in recent years makes Wade a perfect fit as an owner that will have a platform to make a difference.

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