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No jokes here: Dwyane Wade purchases ownership stake in Utah Jazz

Former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade speaks during a jersey retirement ceremony.
Former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade speaks during a jersey retirement ceremony. He continues his involvement in basketball by purchasing an ownership stake in the Utah Jazz.
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

Who’s laughing now?

After LeBron James publicly clowned the Utah Jazz during the NBA All-Star draft in March, his former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade announced Thursday that he’s purchased a stake in the franchise, which has the best record in the NBA.

Wade confirmed his ownership on Twitter, quoting the ESPN story that broke the news. He joins majority owner and team governor Ryan Smith as head of the franchise.

The three-time NBA champion said he is happy to follow the legacy of other basketball stars-turned-owners, including Shaquille O’Neal with the Sacramento Kings, Grant Hill with the Atlanta Hawks and Michael Jordan with the Charlotte Hornets (who were the Bobcats at the time). Magic Johnson also had a stint in ownership of the Lakers before he sold his 4.5% stake to Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong.

Wade remarked on the significance of his ownership deal, especially for someone who grew up in inner-city Chicago.

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“This goes way beyond the dream I had to just play basketball in the NBA,” Wade said. "... 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.”

Smith purchased the Jazz in October for $1.66 billion. While it’s unclear how much he paid or how much of a stake Wade owns, the NBA has a bylaw requiring all team owners to hold at least a 1% share.

The 13-time All-Star is expecting to have a hands-on role in many aspects of the franchise.

Lakers star LeBron James, now part of groups that own the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC, continues to prepare for the day he’s an NBA team owner.

James furthered his own portfolio in March by purchasing an ownership stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC among other properties. He quickly noted that his goal is still to own an NBA franchise.


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