Many people over the past few years have compared Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell to NBA legend Dwyane Wade, who won three championships and was named an All-Star 13 times.

Now, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday morning, the two will both be part of the Jazz organization, as Wade has purchased an ownership stake in the franchise from new owner Ryan Smith.

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The Jazz announced the deal a short time later.

Wade, who played for the Miami Heat from 2003-19, told Wojnarowski on ESPN, “This goes way beyond the dream I had to just play basketball in the NBA. 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.”

Wojnarowski reported that Wade and Smith met in 2019 and became “fast friends.”

“It wasn’t like we wanted more partners; that wasn’t what we were trying to do,” Smith told Wojnarowski. “I want to work with Dwyane on and off the court, on the business side, and so do our partners — because of who he is as a human being and what he’s accomplished. Those are the kinds of people you want around.”

Added Smith in the Jazz’s announcement: “Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, he is also a great leader, businessman and human being. 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.”

The Jazz’s ownership group now consists of Smith, Wade, Ryan Sweeney and Mike Cannon-Brookes.

The Jazz have been significantly involved in conversations around social justice in recent years, which has been met with some resistance among fans. Wade addressed that with Wojnarowski, indicating he wants to be part of those.

“We’re not running away from the racial and social and LGBTQ conversations,” he told Wojnarowski. “I’m committed to doing the work. I talk about the LGBTQ community, which everyone knows is important to me. My daughter is part of that community.

“I don’t look at this as only a Utah Jazz relationship. I look at this as a relationship that’s multifaceted — business, basketball, me being able to bring Ryan into my world just as he’s bringing me into his world.”

Heat owner Micky Arison wrote on Twitter that he and Wade had discussions about Wade joining that franchise’s ownership group when his playing days were over but that Wade said he wasn’t ready at the time.

With the Jazz’s game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday in the afternoon, head coach Quin Snyder met with the media via Zoom in the morning and fielded a number of questions about Wade.

Snyder noted that his first interaction with Wade was in 2003 as Wade and Marquette beat Snyder’s Missouri Tigers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament (Marquette ultimately reached the Final Four).

“I haven’t reminded him of that yet, but I’ve gotten over that at this point. He’s probably forgotten about it after three rings,” Snyder quipped.

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More seriously, Snyder said, “Obviously, you know, recently, we’ve had a chance to have some real good exchanges. Things have been moving fast and I look forward to have an opportunity to talk and visit more. That whole process to me is an organic one. You know, there’s a lot going on and we’re just excited to be where we are right now today.”

Beside Wade’s basketball background, Snyder pointed to his business acumen and philanthropic efforts as things that will be valuable to the organization.

“I know that something that’s incredibly important to Ryan, to bring people in the organization that you know they can contribute in variety of ways and, you know, Dwayne obviously, being that person, inn this case, so we’re all thrilled to welcome him and look forward to working with him and partnering with him.”

Snyder deflected questions about how Wade’s presence might impact the franchise’s social justice efforts but did say, “I think anytime that you have a person become a part of a community, and really in whatever capacity that that entails, when that person, has a level of integrity, respect, generosity, all the values that I think Dwayne has shown throughout his career and also his post-playing career, there’s an opportunity.”

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