The high-flying Utah Jazz have some extra star power off the court after NBA great Dwyane Wade purchased an ownership stake in the franchise.
Wade – a three-time champion and 13-time All-Star – joins majority owner Ryan Smith in Utah, where the Jazz lead the NBA with a 42-14 record this season.
The 39-year-old Wade won three titles with the Miami Heat, having also played for the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring in 2019.
"When you're able to get an opportunity to meet someone like Ryan that has been very successful in business, that can educate you, that can teach you — I'm all about I want mentors, and Ryan became a mentor to me," Wade said after joining a shortlist of former players with ownership stakes in NBA franchises, alongside Hall of Famer Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets), Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O'Neale (Sacramento Kings) and Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks).
"Did I ever think that this would be a part of our conversations? No, I did not. But this was always a goal of mine, to one day hopefully be a part of something bigger than I, and that's what the Utah Jazz is — something bigger than myself."
"The respect I that I have for that [Heat] organisation 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."
The Jazz – spearheaded by All-Stars Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley – are eyeing their maiden NBA championship.
Utah have suffered back-to-back first-round exits in the playoffs, having last reached the NBA Finals in 1998 – beaten by Jordan's Bulls.
"Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being," said Smith. "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.
"Utah is an amazing place and I couldn't be more thrilled about the future of the franchise and the future of this state. Dwyane's influence will be important to both."