SALT LAKE CITY — A prevailing thought in the NBA is that a championship pedigree often is required for a team to collectively hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy to conclude the Finals.
As they attempt to secure the franchise's first title, no Utah Jazz player or the coach has achieved the ultimate team goal. But they do have an apparent integral part of the team capable of flashing the coveted jewelry on multiple fingers.
You may have heard of him, none other than Dwyane Wade, a three-time champion with the Miami Heat. Wade, who bought a piece of the Jazz this season, is anything but a behind-the-scenes minority owner.
Since the playoffs started, he's been on the front row of home games, at times practically serving as an unofficial coach on the floor. Same goes for when the team is in the locker room, where Wade can be found before and after games as well as during intermissions.
"He's been around a lot," said Joe Ingles.
Wade is reminiscent of those old commercials with a financial brokerage firm. Old-timers remember them well — when the advisor talks, people listen.
Same thing with the Jazz and Wade. And why not?
He's got as much basketball credibility as any owner in league history, next to Michael Jordan's position with the Charlotte Hornets. His distinguished career includes being a 13-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA member and MVP of the Finals.
"Just as a guy of his stature and what he's done in his career individually and with his teams, it's obviously just a bonus for us," Ingles said during his weekly radio appearance on The Zone Sports Network.
In his postgame interview after scoring 45 points to lead the Jazz over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, Donovan Mitchell referred to Wade as his brother. Interestingly, as Mitchell continues to make his mark in the NBA, the fourth-year guard is often compared to Wade.
The mutual respect between the two is evident in that Wade is comfortable enough to interact with Mitchell during games. For his part, Mitchell seems to eat up any counsel that the future Hall of Fame player offers.
What's even cooler is Quin Snyder's attitude toward the unusual approach. The seventh-year coach is not the least bit threatened by it.
"I don't ask a lot of questions about what they're talking about," Snyder said during Wednesday's Zoom media availability. "I trust that we're all on the same page, and there's probably things that Dwyane's capable of giving him that I'm not, which I think is a positive thing."
At 39 years old and only two years removed from playing, Wade can easily straddle the gap between the younger players and the 54-year-old Snyder. Besides helping the players, he can also work in concert with Snyder and new Jazz majority owner Ryan Smith.
At the time Smith announced the partnership in April, Wade indicated his intentions to have a hands-on role. He's followed through maybe even more than expected.
"I've asked him to weigh in on some things for me, personally," Snyder said. "We've had a number of text exchanges. I try not to wear him out because he's a busy guy."
Talk about an understatement for Wade, who has relocated from Florida to Los Angeles.
The stake in the Jazz is only part of a large portfolio. A real estate investor, Wade also works as a studio personality on Inside the NBA on the TNT network and hosts of "The Cube" game show on the same network.
"It's been really cool," Ingles said. "I think as we keep going on here he's going to keep helping guys. It's a pleasure to have him be a part of the team."