Three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade has purchased an ownership stake in the Utah Jazz, joining majority owner and governor Ryan Smith with plans to take an active role in the franchise and region.
Wade, an eight-time All-NBA player with the Miami Heat, is the latest of several Hall of Fame-level players with NBA ownership stakes, including Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks), Shaquille O'Neal (Sacramento Kings) and Charlotte Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan. Magic Johnson previously had a 4% stake in the Los Angeles Lakers.
"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, there are going to be a lot of things that I'll want to be involved in."
"... Unfortunately, people in my community don't get this opportunity, and I do not take it lightly to have this opportunity. 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."
Wade, 39, met Smith on a San Clemente, California, golf course shortly after his playing retirement in 2019, and they became fast friends. Wade wanted to understand about Smith's tech empire, including his company Qualtrics, and called him a "mentor." Smith, 42, raised the idea of Wade joining the ownership group upon completing a $1.66 billion purchase of the Jazz in October.