For 17 years, Dwyane Wade put his blood, sweat and tears in to building the brand of the National Basketball Association. Most notably, Wade gave his talents to the city of Miami and the Heat organization. With eight All-NBA selections, three NBA championships and an NBA Finals MVP trophy sitting in his living room, Wade appropriately renamed Dade County as Wade County. Finishing his career in 2019, Wade has gone on to do a number of great things including producing a documentary, expanding his wine label and growing his own shoe brand. Still, his love of basketball persists. Wade not only appears on TNT's weekly NBA broadcast, but he is also a part-owner of the Utah Jazz.
Wade got a bit of news that can make any Friday that much more special. The former NBA star will join majority owner Ryan Smith as a part-owner of the franchise and an active member within the organization.
"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."
It is nearly impossible to last 17 years in the world's best basketball league, but it is even more difficult to become a part-owner of an NBA franchise. Over the years, a select group of NBA legends like Magic Johnson, Grant Hill and Shaquille O'Neal have been able to grab portions of basketball franchises. Thus far, only one former NBA player has been able to become the majority owner of an NBA franchise, Michael Jordan. Furthermore, Jordan is the only Black majority team owner in the league.
"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," Wade added.
Wade joins the franchise at an exciting time. The Jazz currently have the best record in the NBA and are poised to make a run at a championship this year. Led by Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Golbert, the team has a bright future beyond this one regular-season run. Interestingly enough, the team's best player, Mitchell, is often compared to Wade. The Miami Heat legend hopes that Mitchell can bring the type of success he had in Florida to the state of Utah.
"I call him 2.0...If there's a player similar to me, it's Donovan Mitchell," Wade said affectionately.
"He's on that short list of people who call me and talk for hours. We've got a big brother-little brother relationship."
Wade will us that relationship to build forward as the team enters its late-season push. The Jazz will take the court this afternoon against the Indiana Pacers.
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