Three-time NBA champion and Chicago native Dwyane Wade is joining the WNBA’s Chicago Sky ownership group. The 13-time All-Star is investing in his hometown WNBA franchise a little over one month after a shift in the team’s ownership.
Wade is the latest high-profile figure to invest in the WNBA at a pivotal juncture in the league’s 27-year history. Will his presence have a dramatic impact on the Sky on the court? Only time will tell.
Expect D-Wade to be involved in the Sky’s team operations
A couple of days after investing in his hometown Chicago Sky, Dwyane Wade could be found courtside at the WNBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas. One after another, players on the court came up to say hello to him. Among the visitors was two-time league MVP for the Las Vegas Aces A’ja Wilson and Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud. Wade shook hands and chatted with players for nearly 30 minutes after the game was over.
These conversations could be considered a rule-bending free agency discussion if we were talking about the NBA. Could Wade be able to draw in high-caliber free agents to Chicago? We are already in the midst of two superteams in the WNBA with the Aces and the New York Liberty. Wade has a history of bringing in star players after he and Miami Heat owner Pat Riley helped bring in LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the franchise in 2010.
Wade is a top-flight NBA star and his overall magnetism indicates he will significantly impact the team on the court. But his presence will also benefit the players currently on the team. Sky players believe that Wade will be a go-between from them to ownership regarding what pro athletes need to be successful.
Wade told the Chicago Sun-Times he’d been in talks with Sky ownership since February. He also has had conversations with players. He says he intends to be as involved with the organization as possible.
Wade’s exact ownership percentage has not been disclosed. In addition to the Sky, He also holds an ownership stake in the NBA’s Utah Jazz and the MLS’ Real Salt Lake.
Sky ownership group continues to fluctuate
The news of Wade’s involvement with the Sky comes a little over a month after a group of investors agreed to buy 10% of the team. Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts is part of that group that agreed to a deal worth $8.5 million.
The latest valuation of the Sky was $85 million. That is the second highest in the WNBA behind the Seattle Storm.
As far as the 2023 season goes, things aren’t looking good for a team that won the WNBA Championship two years ago. The Sky are on the outside looking in on the playoffs. There is plenty of season to go. However, the team hasn’t shown much consistency and is running out of time to find a good rhythm on the court.
If things go south, that may not be the worst thing for the Sky. The 2024 WNBA Draft is expected to be one of the best drafts in league history. It will include Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, UConn’s Paige Bueckers, LSU’s Angel Reese and Hailey Van Lith, among others.