SALT LAKE CITY — NBA legend Dwyane Wade is joining the Utah Jazz, but as a part-owner and not a player.
The team announced Friday that the 13-time All-Star had joined the ownership group led by technology entrepreneur Ryan Smith, who along with his wife, Ashley.
"I’m excited to help take the Utah Jazz to the next level," said Wade in a statement. "I am always looking for new opportunities to grow and challenge myself. I’ve always done things my own way, and this is the next step in my journey. 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.”
Wade follows in the footsteps of other former players who have taken ownership stakes in teams. Michael Jordan (Hornets), Shaquille O'Neal (Kings), and Grant Hill (Hawks) all currently have ownership positions with NBA franchises.
A longtime member of the Miami Heat, Wade has moved into other business ventures since retiring from the NBA in 2019. Li-Ning, Hisense, MISSION, and Budweiser are just a few of Wade's corporate partners.
While acknowledging his longtime affiliation with the Heat, Wade told ESPN that buying into the Jazz is about the future.
"...this is about the next phase of my life as an investor, a businessman, an entrepreneur. For me, this is an opportunity to grow."
For the Jazz, the addition of Wade gives the new ownership group a veteran of the league and a champion.
“Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, but he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being,” said Ryan Smith. “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.”
Jeff Tavss at KSTU first reported this story.