Former Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade playing days are long over, but that has not stopped the former NBA star from finding his way back into the game he always loved. Wade, who retired in 2019 is now joining the Utah Jazz ownership group as a minority interest owner.
Billionaire Ryan Smith, who recently purchased the Utah Jazz with a small group of investors in December 2020, became close friends with Wade after he retired from the NBA in 2019. Smith, the co-founder of Qualtrics released a statement praising the former NBA star.
“Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being,” Smith said in a statement released by USA Today. “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 valued ‘fit’ as one of his decisions in joining the Utah Jazz organization as an owner made it clear that both he and owner Ryan Smith share the same vision and values that extend both on and off the basketball court.
“Partnering with Ryan and the Utah Jazz is the perfect fit as we share the same vision and values.” Wade said in a statement. “Not only is this group focused on building a championship franchise, they are also committed to using their platform to do good and actively create a more inclusive, equitable world. We share a lot of the same goals and are trying to go the same places in life.”
A future lock for the Hall of Fame, Wade, who won three NBA titles with the Miami Heat has since began forming strong connections with many of the Utah Jazz players including star Donovan Mitchell whose game is strikingly similar to Wade’s.
Wade, who plans on taking an active role in day-to-day decisions joins a short list of Black former NBA players who have ownership interests in NBA teams including: Shaquille O’Neal (Sacramento Kings), Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks), and Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets).