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Dwyane Wade to join Chicago Sky ownership

Dwyane Wade to join Chicago Sky ownership

Dwyane Wade, a former Miami Heat superstar and former Chicago Bulls guard, is currently a part-owner of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. Wade, a native of Chicago, confirmed the news on Twitter:

The Sky began play in the 2006 season, a year after late NBA commissioner David Stern awarded the city of Chicago a WNBA franchise in 2005. However, it took some time to gain its foothold in the league. The Sky didn’t have a winning season until their seventh season, in 2013, thanks to then-Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne. In actuality, the Sky have only enjoyed seven winning seasons. Ironically, the 16-16 Sky won their lone championship in 2021, since they were only the third team to ever reach the WNBA Finals with a record of.500 or below.

Wade has made numerous ventures in and out of athletics since his retirement. In 2021, he bought a minority share in the Utah Jazz, just months after the Millers sold the team to Utah resident Ryan Smith. Wade invested in the Major League Soccer franchise through Smith’s ownership of Real Salt Lake.

ESPN’s Alexa Philippou claimed in her piece on Wade’s announcement that the soon-to-be Hall of Famer had his eye on the Sky for some time:

Wade’s interest in the WNBA made waves last month after he was seen visiting a Sky practice in Deerfield, Illinois. His interactions with the team earned rave reviews from players, (Sky co-owner and operating chairman Nadia) Rawlinson said, before his official involvement was announced Friday.

The NBA legend is the newest investor in the franchise after the Sky sold an approximate 10% stake of the team (at an $85 million valuation) last month to a group including Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts.

Only two seasons after winning the WNBA title in 2021, the Sky are in the midst of a tremendous shift. Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot left the squad in free agency last year, moving to Las Vegas and New York, respectively. Allie Quigley (Vandersloot’s wife) chose not to return, as did Emma Meesseman. James Wade left as head coach in June to join the Toronto Raptors coaching staff as an assistant to Darko Rajakovi, the franchise’s new head coach.

Aside from Chicago’s on-court issues, this is another significant step in the W’s progression. According to Front Office Sports, in addition to acquiring ION as a broadcast partner, resulting in a successful Friday night doubleheader, its viewership on ESPN is up 46% compared to previous season.