How Golf, Tiger Woods Helped Utah Jazz Win Over Danny Ainge

Pandering 101


Dec 15, 2021

New Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith probably had Danny Ainge in the palm of his hands.

In order to pitch the former Boston Celtics president of basketball operations to join the club as the Jazz’s alternate governor and CEO, Smith invited Ainge along to the Bahamas for Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge. The duo weren’t just spectators, though. Smith was carrying PGA Tour pro Tony Finau’s bag for the golf tournament.

Clearly, Ainge hasn’t turned down anything related to golf in his quasi-retirement. While at Woods’ event, Ainge and Smith were able to work out a deal before getting back home to Utah, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ainge and his wife Michelle recently moved back to Utah, and in addition to being able to see some of their grandchildren more often, he’s kept busy making up for lost time on the course. He goes as far as to mention it every time he’s spoken to reporters since stepping down, too.

The 62-year-old left the door open to return to the NBA, but in in a capacity that offered him much more free time.

Reports say it took some pandering from Smith, but Ainge gets some balance back home in Utah. And gets to keep playing golf.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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