Business

Billionaire Ryan Smith drafts Dwayne Wade as partner in Utah Jazz

NBA legend Dwyane Wade has bought a stake in the Utah Jazz and wants to help the title-chasing franchise reach the “next level”, the team said Friday.

The three-time NBA champion joins an ownership group led by Ryan Smith, the technology billionaire who bought the Jazz last year.

Wade’s investment in Utah mirrors similar moves by other NBA legends who have taken ownership stakes in the league, most notably Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets), Shaquille O’Neal (Sacramento Kings) and Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks).

“As a businessman, entrepreneur, and investor, I bring a lot to this partnership outside of my basketball experience,” Wade said in a statement. “I’m excited to help take the Utah Jazz to the next level.”

The size of Wade’s stake in the team was not disclosed. Wade told ESPN in an interview Friday he wanted to be involved in the operation of the franchise.

“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.

“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.”

Smith meanwhile welcomed the arrival of Wade, hailing the 39-year-old as “a basketball legend, a great leader, businessman and human being.”

“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,” Smith said.

Wade, a 13-time All-Star, retired as a player in 2019 after a glittering career that included three NBA championships with the Miami Heat in 2006, 2012 and 2013.

Utah currently have the best record in basketball, with 41 wins and 14 losses leaving them on top of the Western Conference standings.

Agence France-Presse

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