Sports

Dwyane Wade is now a minority owner of … the Utah Jazz?!


Wait, not Miami?

Wait, not Miami?
Image: AP

Dwyane Wade, three-time NBA Champion, Miami Heat legend, TNT Analyst, and all-around solid dude, is now a minority owner of the Utah Jazz.

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No, not the Heat, the Jazz.

According to an Adrian Wojnarowski ESPN report, Wade not only purchased a stake in the team, but he’s looking to become more active in the organization and region upon assuming the role. This also lends to an uptick in Black ownership in the NBA, which has grown over the past 20 years.

“This goes way beyond the dream I had to just play basketball in the NBA,” Wade said, via ESPN. “I’ve seen [Shaquille O’Neal] do it in Sacramento. I’ve seen Grant Hill do it in Atlanta. I’ve seen [Michael] Jordan do it in Charlotte. If this partnership is going to be anything like my relationship is with [majority owner and team governor] Ryan [Smith], 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.”

Following the announcement, Heat majority owner Mickey Arison, with whom Wade shared quarters with down in Miami for all but one-and-a-half seasons of his 2003-2019 NBA career, tweeted a congratulations. However, he also said that Wade could’ve potentially had an involvement with Heat ownership, but it fell through.

“We had discussed having him join our ownership group after his retirement,” said Arison. According to Arison Wade wasn’t “prepared” at the time to make such a commitment.

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“Of course I am disappointed that he didn’t reconsider.”

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In Woj’s ESPN story, Wade added he’ll always have respect and love for the Heat, but that this chance in Utah provides a springboard toward the next portion of his life.

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“The respect that I have for that 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.”

Wade’s business ventures include his Way of Wade brand, which boasts partnerships with D’Angelo Russell, Rick Ross, and Udonis Haslem.

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This all leads us with one question … what does Vernon Maxwell think about all this?

He did retweet this at least:

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No, but seriously, it’s surprising that the Heat and Wade couldn’t work something out along the way, especially considering how they’ve seemingly remained close since his retirement. He’s even credited with helping bring Jimmy Butler to Miami in 2019 despite having zero cap space. More will probably be revealed on that front, but the apparent pivot from Miami to Utah is eyebrow raising to say the least.

Also of note is Donovan Mitchell’s standing in Utah as the Jazz’s franchise player. Mitchell — who memorably had an awkward exchange with Wade’s former teammate and fellow TNT Analyst Shaquille O’Neal — is now in his fourth season. He inked a five-year, $195 million extension this past November, which will kick in at the start of next season. Mitchell is also expected to be on some MVP ballots this season due to his position as the offensive leader of the NBA’s best regular-season ball club. As of this transaction, the Jazz are an NBA-best 41-14, with Mitchell averaging 26.5 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game.

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Mitchell has often been compared to Wade, which also includes a connection drawn by Wade himself as he explained to J.J, Redick in August. When asked who is the young player that most reminds Wade of himself, he immediately answered with, “Donovan Mitchell.”

“Undersized, underrated coming in,” Wade elaborated. “This is a guy who I’ve mentored obviously. He realized that he played similar to me and reached out to me on multiple occasions.”

It’s also palpable in this compilation created by basketball video YouTuber Evin Gualberto, expertly tracking the eerie similarities between Mitchell and Wade.

Good for Wade, though. Hopefully, this continues the rise of people of color getting involved in ownership stakes in, not just sports teams, but companies across the country.

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