Dwyane Wade’s $2.25 Billion Worth Team Repeats History as 50-Year-Milestone Celebration Commences Ahead of Opening Night

Published 10/26/2023, 7:13 AM EDT

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Dwyane Wade spent 13 of his 16 seasons with the team that drafted him. All three of Miami’s championships came under the leadership of The Flash. Along with the city, D-Wade formed a strong bond with Kaseya Center, where his #3 jersey hangs in the rafters. Post his retirement though, the 13-time All-Star is getting familiar with arenas where he would once dominate his opponents.

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The three-time NBA champion became a minority owner of an NBA team in 2021, with hopes to return the franchise to its glory days. While playoff success remains to be seen, the $2.25 billion franchise is taking a more sentimental step towards pleasing their fans.

The Utah Jazz celebrate 50-year milestone with $20 billion company

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Dwyane Wade bought a minority stake in the Utah Jazz two years ago. At that time, their arena was called Vivint Arena. For some fans, this created a disconnect. For the longest time, and notably during the Stockton-Malone era, Salt Lake City was home to the Delta Center.

Starting in 1991, the partnership between the arena and the airline company ran for a very successful 15 years, including the team’s last Finals appearance in 1998. However, in 2006, the $20 billion Delta Airlines pulled out of the deal due to financial reasons.

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Utah fans witnessed some of the best Jazz players take to the court during the Delta Center era. Most notably, Karl Malone and John Stockton graced the arena during its most successful period. Now, before entering their 50th season in the league, the Utah Jazz signed a new deal with Delta Airlines to bring back the iconic Delta Center.

 

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With Dwyane Wade among the ownership ranks now, this change could be a clear sign of intent from the organization. Utah is looking to return to its form and break their 25-year-long NBA Finals drought. The Utah Jazz have a rich heritage, and they were one of the most successful teams in the league, making the playoffs for 20 straight years.

After the return of the Delta Center for the first time since 2006, the team celebrated their legacy during the season opener. They gave out purple shirts with the words “Delta Center – Home of the Jazz” written in white, gold, and green lettering.

The season’s classic-edition Nike jersey is likewise a throwback and a familiar sight for older Utah Jazz fans. It’s the first road shirt the squad wore in 1974, with purple, green, and gold. Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith said “It’s cool to reflect, it’s cool to see it….It’s cool to see the players want to be back part of the organization. It’s cool to hear the stories of those who have been around.”

Has Dwyane Wade as an investor benefited the Utah Jazz?

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The Miami Heat legend will feel as a co-owner in Delta Arena what he felt as a player in Miami’s Kaseya Center; a feeling of history, legacy and continuity.

Dwyane purchased a minority stake in the Jazz in 2021. In just two years, the team’s worth has climbed by 28.5%, from $1.75 billion to $2.25 billion. Wade’s takeover aided the team’s gradual rise in popularity and notoriety.

Ryan Smith, NBA governor of the Utah Jazz said “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,” Smith said when Wade joined the ownership group.

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Dwyane Wade was instrumental in the Utah Jazz’s success, and this year the Jazz will make a statement by honoring 50 years and competing for the championship.

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Written by:

Mainak Dutta

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Mainak is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Media Science from a prestigious university, he specializes in providing in-depth analysis of the NBA's biggest games. Mainak's passion for basketball grew once he began following the greats of the game, especially Kobe Bryant.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair

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