Utah Jazz minority owner and three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade was named a finalist for the 2023 Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame class on Friday.
In a ceremony inside Vivint Arena, Wade was recognized along with Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker as headliners of the 12 finalists up for nomination. The final class will be announced at the Final Four this April, with an enshrinement ceremony slated for August. All four are expected to make the final cut during their first year on the ballot.
In Wade’s brief remarks after being named, he took a dig at Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the hall of fame and former director of USA Basketball. In 2008, Colangelo famously did not want Wade to be on the U.S. Olympic team that would become known as the “Redeem Team.”
Ultimately, Wade made the roster and averaged a team-high 16 points per game coming off the bench as the team won the gold medal in Beijing.
“We cannot do it alone,” Wade said. “Jerry, I needed you in the Olympics. I needed you to say I wasn’t good enough.”
Colangelo was in attendance and said this is one of the deeper Hall of Fame classes in recent memory.
“I love this class,” Colangelo said. “This is a loaded class. … This is unique in that we have a lot of first-time people. And it is unusual when somebody makes it [to the Hall] on the first ballot. But this is going to be that unique of a class. There could be four of five first-timers.”
Others notable names up for nomination include San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and former WNBA star and current WNBA coach Becky Hammon.
Wade became a minority owner with the Jazz in 2021, two years after his retirement. Before that, Wade won three titles with the Miami Heat. He won his first playing with Shaquille O’Neal and his last two with LeBron James. In 2006, he was the most valuable player of the NBA Finals.
On his own right, Wade was named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team and a 13-time NBA All-Star. He led the league in scoring in 2009 and was also on the all-NBA defensive team two times.
Wade did not have a connection to the Jazz prior to 2021 when he became a part-owner. His post-retirement life to date has mostly stayed low-profile in basketball. His son, Zaire Wade, played with the Salt Lake Stars in 2021 — the G League affiliate for the Jazz.
“I have had many nights throughout this journey where I envisioned having that orange jacket,” Wade said. “So I am one step closer.”