Dwyane Wade now joins a small but growing group of former NBA stars — including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Grant Hill — who have ownership stakes in teams

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 16, 2021 04:03 PM
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Dwyane Wade
Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Dwyane Wade is joining the ownership group of the Utah Jazz, the team announced on Friday.

"I am always looking for new opportunities to grow and challenge myself," Wade said in a statement. "As a kid from the south side of Chicago, this partnership goes beyond my wildest dreams of playing basketball, and I hope to inspire the next generation of dreamers."

The 39-year-old retired from the NBA in 2019, leaving behind a legacy that includes three NBA championships during his time on the Miami Heat. He is now part of an ownership group that is helmed by Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith and his wife Ashley Smith, who acquired a majority stake in the Jazz late last year. According to ESPN, Wade met Ryan while playing golf in California in 2019.

"Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being," Ryan 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."

Wade — who also had brief stints with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers — posted a note to Instagram to celebrate the news.

"Proud and excited to become a part of the @utahjazz family with Ryan Smith and the rest of the amazing ownership team," he wrote. "I'm ready to #TakeNote 🎵‼️ Let's go‼️"

The amount of Wade's financial investment in the team was not revealed.

"Unfortunately, people in my community don't get this opportunity, and I do not take it lightly to have this opportunity," Wade told 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."

Other former NBA players who have financial stakes in the league's teams include Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets), Shaquille O'Neal (Sacramento Kings) and Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks).

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"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."

"If this partnership is going to be anything like my relationship is with Ryan," he added, "there are going to be a lot of things that I'll want to be involved in."