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Dwyane Wade joins Chicago Sky ownership group: ‘Next level’ WNBA support

(Armand Lenoir/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dwyane Wade is joining the WNBA as a member of the Chicago Sky’s ownership group.

The three-time NBA champion and 13-time All-Star announced the move on his Instagram on Friday.

“We all talk about support, and support looks different for everyone,” Wade, who will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame next month, told ESPN. “And so instead of tweeting out and saying ‘go support the W,’ instead of showing up at the game and supporting, I wanted to take it to that next level, and this was the next level for me.

“It’s a great opportunity to be a part of the league in its very early stages. … Growth is going to happen, and so I want to be a part of the growth of this league.”

His investment still needs approval from the WNBA board of governors. Details of the exact percentage have not been disclosed.

Wade, who is a Chicago native, first made his interest known last month. He made a trip to a team practice in Deerfield last month and the Sun-Times reported his interest on June 13.

On the June 22, Wade told the Sun-Times that he was taking a “deep look” at investing in the Sky.

This comes after the Sky sold approximately 10% of the team last month to a group headlined by Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts. The investment is set to go toward player experience, marketing and staffing, as well as the construction of a new practice facility.

Two weeks ago, head coach and general manager James Wade left the Sky for the Toronto Raptors’ assistant coaching job. Assistant coach Emre Vatansever is serving as head coach in his place. That departure didn’t discourage Wade from investing, and the team’s priorities will continue, but be “accelerated and amplified” with his investment, according to co-owner and operation chairman Nadia Rawlinson

“This is meaningful for the players, and this is meaningful for the city as a whole,” Rawlinson said. “Dwyane Wade is a son of Chicago. And the thing that differentiates us, I think, from other franchises is that we are Chicago. We are the future of Chicago. We are the culture of Chicago. We are in it and of it, and he is very much sort of a main character in that story. And we’re just pleased and thrilled at what the future can bring with both of us working together.”

Wade also holds ownership in the NBA’s Utah Jazz and MLS’ Real Salt Lake. He noted that the Sky partnership just “makes sense.”

“No pun intended, but the sky’s the limit,” Wade said. He joins Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez and Magic Johnson in investing in the WNBA.

Despite his big name, Wade hopes that the attention remains on the players.

“No one is bigger than the players,” Wade continued. “No one is bigger than A’ja Wilson right now. No one is bigger than Aliyah Boston. No one wants to be bigger than them as an owner. That’s not what you want. And so we want to bring attention to the league that we can, but we also want to bring our resources to the league. We want to bring what we’ve learned by playing in these leagues for a long time to the front offices, to the management teams and to everyone.”