NBA legend Dwyane Wade has joined the Utah Jazz ownership group, merging his basketball experience and business acumen into the realization of a dream he has had since his playing days.
“As a businessman, entrepreneur, and investor, I bring a lot to this partnership outside of my basketball experience,” Wade said. “I’m excited to help take the Utah Jazz to the next level.”
Wade, 39, joins the NBA’s youngest ownership group, partnering with technology entrepreneur and Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith and his wife Ashley, who acquired a majority interest in the Utah Jazz in late 2020. The small ownership group also includes tech leaders Ryan Sweeney, an Accel partner, and investor, Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, and the Miller family.
“Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, but he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being,” said Ryan Smith, NBA governor of the Utah Jazz. “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 already has a number of business partnerships, including Li-Ning, Hisense, MISSION, Budweiser, BallerTV, Wade Cellars, and 800° Woodfired Kitchen. Smith and Wade met several years ago and had engaged in numerous conversations about working together. Shortly after the Smiths acquired the Jazz in 2020, those conversations shifted to focus on the Utah Jazz and Smith Entertainment Group.
“Partnering with Ryan and the Utah Jazz is the perfect fit as we share the same vision and values,” Wade said. “Not only is this group focused on building a championship franchise, but 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.”
Wade retired as a player in 2019, having built a résumé that is sure to make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he is eligible. Now the 13-time All-Star and three-time champion, joins the shortlist of former players with ownership stakes in an NBA franchise, alongside Michael Jordan (Charlotte), Shaquille O’Neale (Sacramento), and Grant Hill (Atlanta).
“I am always looking for new opportunities to grow and challenge myself,” Wade said. “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.”