Former NBA superstar Dwyane Wade has purchased an ownership stake in the Utah Jazz and plans to have an active role with the franchise and region first reported by league insider Adrian Wojnarowski with ESPN.
The Jazz franchise issued a press release shortly after the news broke. Ryan Smith, NBA governor of the Utah Jazz said:
Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being. 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.
The Jazz release said Smith and Wade have engaged in "numerous conversations about working together in various business and investment capacities."
Wade has been long associated with the Miami Heat where he won an NBA championship and was an All-Star and an All-NBA player eight times. Utahn Ryan Smith remains the majority owner of the franchise after he purchased a majority share from the long-time owners, the Miller family for $1.6 billion. Wade and Smith became friends after the two met on a golf course in 2019.
"Welcome to Utah," the Jazz announced on Twitter.
“As a businessman, entrepreneur, and investor, I bring a lot to this partnership outside of my basketball experience,” Wade said on NBA.com. “I’m excited to help take the Utah Jazz to the next level.”
"This goes way beyond the dream I had to just play basketball in the NBA," Wade told ESPN.
"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. 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," Wade said to Wojnarowski.
"Dwyane has had a chance to be part of so many different [ownership] groups if he wanted that," Smith told ESPN. "We've basically been in discussion from the time we closed on the team on how we can get this done. Like I run my tech business, you want the brightest people around.
"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."
The Miller family and others remain minority owners of the Jazz franchise that moved from New Orleans to Utah in the 1978 - 1979 season. The Jazz have been owned by Larry H. Miller Companies for 35 years.
The ownership group is the newest in the NBA and including Ryan Sweeney, Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith and his wife Ashley Smith and the Miller family.
Included in the transaction to Smith, announced in October 2020, were the Utah Jazz, Vivint Arena, the National Basketball Association G League Salt Lake City Stars, and management of the Triple-A baseball affiliate Salt Lake Bees.
NBA.com reports Wade has a number of business partnerships including Li-Ning, Hisense, MISSION, Budweiser, BallerTV, Wade Cellars and 800 Woodfired Kitchen.