Former Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade speaks to the crowd during his jersey retirement ceremony at American Airlines Arena on February 22, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
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Dwyane Wade likes to take chances when business is in question.
The retired three-time NBA champion, 40, has investments in media companies and consumer products. Wade, 40, bought an equity stake in two sports teams, and he hosted a TV show. Wade also took the opportunity to quickly market the NFT.
“I’ve always taken chances,” Wade told CNBC in an interview. “I’ve always been a guy who does things differently than everyone else.”
Wade is working with Budweiser Zero on a collection of NFTs that will go on sale on May 24. Wade established the alcohol and sugar -free beverage in 2020. The NFTs will sell for $ 180 each and give buyers opportunities to win. prizes, including autographed. Wade sneakers and a chance to watch a Utah Jazz game with him. Wade is a minority owner of the NBA franchise.
“It’s an opportunity to be part of a young brand that is trying to build a fan base and provide more experiences,” he said, calling the NFT collection another option for fans. “to do something unique and something cool.”
However the NFT collection operates during a down cycle for digital assets. Daily sales of NFTs have decreased by more than 90% since September 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal. It also comes amid a trade-off around cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.
But Wade didn’t mind taking a chance on the space.
“If you look at my basketball career, my business career is very similar,” he said.
Wade’s crucial business decision
Wade, who retired from basketball in 2019, has amassed nearly $ 200 million in revenue over his 16-year NBA career, according to Spotrac, a website that tracks sports contacts. Forbes estimates he earns $ 17 million per year on endorsements.
“It’s different,” Wade said when asked about retirement. Wade said he knew how to use “the same things that make me a special athlete” in his post-career during the pandemic.
He set the tone for his years after retiring at a key business leap during the heyday of his career.
As a rookie in 2003, Wade signed with sneaker brand Converse. Then he made a major move to Nike’s Michael Jordan brand in 2009, he was paired with NBA teammates Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, among others.
Then, in 2012, China-based sports apparel company Li-Ning approached Wade about starting his own line of shoes. They offered him an equity stake. Wade, who called the offer his “most important deal from a business standpoint,” took the opportunity and left the Jordan brand for Li-Ning.
“Thanks for putting in the blueprint,” Wade said as he told Jordan. “I’ll try and make my own version of it.”
Jordan, in turn, told Wade that he “understood and respected” the move, Wade said.
Eventually, in 2018, Wade signed a lifetime deal with Li-Ning for an undisclosed amount. Young NBA stars like New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum and Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler have joined him in the brand. Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell also signed using the sneaker line.
“It’s a slow build,” Wade said. “Athletes have the opportunity to do something a little different.”
He added: “I’m not trying to do anything again,” Wade explained. “I’ve been trying to have a sneaker and apparel business worn by athletes for years. I want to build something that’s a legacy for my family.”
Issac Baldizon | NBAE | Getty Photos
Wade continued to pursue new areas of business after his retirement.
Wade started a wine company called “Wade Cellars.” He has a stake in media company Players TV. He and his wife, actor Gabrielle Union, founded Proudly, a company that makes baby products. He said the start-up company “came from a need.”
Wade said, “We have a 3-year-old daughter and go to 80 different stores to grab products. We said, ‘This won’t work for us. Communities?'”
In April, Proudly released its product line, including baby wash and lotion. The company will eventually offer diapers.
On the sports ownership front, Wade also took a small stake in the Utah Jazz in the NBA in April 2021 and joined Blackstone executive David Blitzer as co-owner of MLS club Real Salt Lake. Wade did not disclose the amount of his bets but said it was a small percentage.
Wade said being the majority owner of the team is “the ultimate goal” for him. But there may be limits to his willingness to take risks in this scenario.
“But maybe I’ll go through this process and tell myself,‘ No, you don’t want headaches, ’” he said.