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Three-time NBA champion and former Miami Heat star, Dwyane Wade, has purchased an ownership stake in the Utah Jazz.
Wade, 39, joins majority owner and team governor Ryan Smith, a tech billionaire, who purchased the franchise in October 2020, and plans to take an active role in the franchise, ESPN writes. The two reportedly met at a golf course in San Clemente, California in 2019 and became fast friends. Smith, 42, soon hinted at the former athlete joining the ownership group.
“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,” Wade said in a statement. “We share a lot of the same goals and are trying to go the same places in life. As a businessman, entrepreneur, and investor, I bring a lot to this partnership outside of my basketball experience. I’m excited to help take the Utah Jazz to the next level.”
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After retiring from the NBA in 2019 with a 16-year playing career with the Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Chicago Bulls, Wade finished the league as a 13-time all-star, a future Hall of Famer, and TNT studio commentator.
The Washington Post reports that Wade addressed his fans’ concerns on his decision not to put any stake into the Miami Heat.
“The respect I that I have for that [Heat] organization will not go anywhere, the love that I have for the [Heat] fans— that goes nowhere,” Wade told ESPN. “But this is about the next phase of my life as an investor, a businessman, an entrepreneur. For me, this is an opportunity to grow.”
Micky Arison, the owner of the Heat, took to Twitter to share his disappointment following Wade’s decision, noting that the two had discussed ownership following his retirement.
Wade joins a list of NBA players who hold a stake in professional sports teams, including Michael Jordan, a majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets; Shaquille O’Neal, a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings; Grant Hill, a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks; Kevin Durant, a minority owner of Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer; and LeBron James joined Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox and English soccer power Liverpool.