*Dwyane Wade may be a retired superstar NBA player, but he’s back in the game, so to speak, because he’s now a minority owner of the Utah Jazz.
Wade, also a Hall of Famer, joins majority owner and team governor Ryan Smith, the billionaire tech giant and founder of Qualtrics. With this move, Wade becomes the latest ex-NBAer to also have ownership stakes. Others include Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks) and Shaquille O’Neal (Sacramento Kings). Magic Johnson previously had a 4% stake in the Los Angeles Lakers. And of course, Michael Jordan is the controlling owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
“As a businessman, entrepreneur, and investor, I bring a lot to this partnership outside of my basketball experience,” Wade said in a news release. “I’m excited to help take the Utah Jazz to the next level.”
The NBA approved the sale of the Jazz to Smith in December. ESPN reports that Wade must purchase at least 1% of the team, per NBA bylaws, reports TheGrio.
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“Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being,” Smith 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.”
“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,” he added.