Learning Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade was becoming a part-owner of the Utah Jazz wasn’t just a shock to fans, but a puzzling development for the franchise’s front office. The only plausible reason had to be that Heat owner Micky Arison never offered the former MVP a piece of the team, but that wasn’t the case at all.
Immediately after Wade announced in mid-April that he’d be joining the Jazz, Arison put out a strong statement on the issue. Arison tweeted, “I want to congratulate Dwyane on his recent announcement. We had discussed having him join our ownership group after his retirement but he was not prepared to commmit at the time. Of course I am disappointed that he didn’t reconsider.”
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In a GQ feature published on June 8, Wade addressed the matter of Heat fans feeling “abandoned” by the NBA icon who helped bring three championship titles to Miami:
As an athlete, you get it. But, the only thing you can do is live your life and do things for you and your family. And one thing I did for Miami in my 14-and-a-half-year career is give them all I had. They continue to embrace me and my family even though we are not living in that zip code. The love is always there for me, and I think it’s always gonna be there from the fans. We experienced something real together and it’s gonna last all of us a lifetime. I get it, man. But I’m not just one person to stay in one place. I’m a butterfly, man. And I gotta fly.
Wade Explained Why He Chose the Utah Jazz Over Not Just the Miami Heat, But Any Other NBA Franchise
So why did Wade ultimately choose Utah over Miami? The first reason is Wade’s relationship with Jazz owner Ryan Smith.
“Ryan and I have been friends for a while,” Wade told GQ. Ryan is 42 years old and I’m 39. He’s in a business and space in tech that I want to one day get in and learn more about. And I know what I can bring to the table from a basketball standpoint and he sees my values. It just was the right fit.”
The second reason Wade was lured to Utah was the distance between his home in Southern California and Salt Lake City.
“I live in LA, man. Utah is an hour and 15-minute flight right over the mountains. Everything was right for this phase in my life. For this part in my life [ownership with the Miami Heat] wasn’t the step I wanted to take… Once you retire and you aren’t a player anymore, it’s about business. And you have to put yourself in a situation for the best business opportunity for you and your family. And Utah was that for me.”
Wade Admitted Jazz Star Donovan Mitchell ‘Played A Lot’ Into His Final Decision
Wade admitted to GQ that the opportunity work closely his “little brother” Donovan Mitchell was a big part in why he choose Utah over Miami.
“I’ve definitely taken a big brother role in his life,” Wade said. “To have that relationship with him and to know it’s going to continue, it feels good… He’s already 24 years old and he’s got a lot more growth to do and he’s already a critical player in our league. So, I’m excited about giving back whatever I’ve learned to him so his career will be greater than mine ever was. And that’s the goal, you’ve got to make sure the generations to come are greater. Right? That’s how the game moves forward.”
But what about his other “little brother,” Bam Adebayo, who’s still in Miami?
“It’s tough because I’m a mentor to a lot of guys, a teammate to a lot of guys, but I’m jumping into ownership,” Wade said. “I’m gonna keep the relationship with certain guys, but I try not to cross that line. I want those guys to keep our relationship exactly how it was and never look at me as someone who’s in ownership, or someone trying to recruit or trying to do anything.
That’s my little brother, Bam. Just like Don. I’m always gonna be there for any information I can pass along in the game of basketball or in business.”