SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz kick off their season on Wednesday night at home against Oklahoma City Thunder. After finishing last season with the overall best record in the Association, the Jazz had a disappointing end, losing to the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals.
New Utah Jazz owners, Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith, and NBA Champion Dwayne Wade sat down at the Silicon Slopes Summit last week to discuss their vision for the Jazz organization.
Smith initially approached Jazz owner at the time, Gail Miller, at the Summit in early 2020. After initially being rejected by Miller, talks heated up in the summer, and Smith later acquired the team and the arena, along with the G League affiliate Salt Lake City Stars (who recently signed Wade’s son Zaire) and the Triple-A Salt Lake City Bees.
In April of this year, it was announced that Wade would join the organization, making it the youngest ownership group in the entire league. Smith and his wife Ashley hold the majority stake in team.
“The Millers have left us this beautiful asset, in a great spot. And we’re going to push. We’re here to push. Larry pushed,” Smith said, referring to late Larry H. Miller, who bought the Jazz in 1986. “We’re not going to just keep everything the status quo.”
“When you talk about push — it’s about elevation. It’s about evolving in life. That’s what I believe in,” Wade said. “Did I think I’d be sitting here three years ago? No. But, as I sit here today, this makes nothing but sense.”
Wade said he felt right joining the Jazz organization when he began to see the potential for growth in Utah, thanks to his long drives with Smith exploring the state.
“In Utah, being a part of this ownership, we have a big microphone. And what we do with this microphone, is going to really determine what our ownership tenure is about. And that’s why the push is here, not just from a basketball standpoint, but from a life standpoint. I’m thankful to be a part of that,” Wade said
When Smith was asked why he wanted Wade to join the team, Smith replied simply, saying “Dwayne is a champion. It’s just all there is to it… He’s one of one.”
“We’re all here for one thing, and we want a parade in this city. That’s it,” Smith said. “In the summer,” Wade added.
When they were pressed on rumors of a brand and color shift, Smith said, “we’re not just going to have two colors. It’s not just going to be black and white. But we’re going to have a good base,” Smith said.
The Jazz’s social media accounts have taken on a more black-and-white feel as of late, rather than the typical blue, green, and yellow.
Photos from Dwayne Wade’s Instagram story showing new black and white branding and text at the Jazz practice facility: