Danny Ainge Appointed Alternate Governor and CEO of Utah Jazz Basketball

Former NBA Executive of the Year will serve as an executive within the Smith Entertainment Group (SEG)

Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), the operating company which owns the Utah Jazz, Vivint Arena and other Utah-centric business ventures, today announced the appointment of Danny Ainge as CEO of Utah Jazz Basketball. Ainge will also represent SEG as an Alternate Governor for the Utah Jazz on the NBA’s Board of Governors.

Ainge joins SEG and the Utah Jazz after 18 years with the Boston Celtics, most recently as President of Basketball Operations. During that time, he was named NBA executive of the year and the team made 15 playoff appearances, seven Eastern Conference Finals, two NBA Finals, and won an NBA championship in 2008. Previously, Ainge was head coach of the Phoenix Suns for three seasons following a 14-year career as a player. He is a three-time NBA champion, winning two titles as a player and one as an executive. 

“We have big aspirations for Smith Entertainment Group and the Utah Jazz. Danny is one of the best basketball minds in the world and he’s also passionate about this state and our community,” said Ryan Smith, owner of the Utah Jazz and SEG. “We believe in adding the best talent to all facets of our organization and are lucky to have Danny’s acumen and experience. The Jazz are in great hands with the incredible leadership of General Manager Justin Zanik and Head Coach Quin Snyder. We couldn’t be more excited to bring Danny on board to work alongside Justin, Quin and me. Danny will help make our organization stronger in pursuit of our collective goal--winning an NBA title.”

“I have known and respected Ryan and Ashley Smith for many years. What they are doing here in Utah is amazing and I am excited to be a part of their vision for the Jazz and Smith Entertainment Group as a whole,” said Danny Ainge, newly appointed CEO of Utah Jazz Basketball. “Joining the Jazz was a natural and perfect fit for me, as my roots in Utah are deep and strong. This is a team that has a tremendous foundation of players and people, and Justin and Quin are doing an amazing job. I am excited to collaborate with them, be a resource, and share the perspective I have as we work together to bring our fans the success that they deserve.” 

Ainge has longstanding ties to the state of Utah. He played basketball at Brigham Young University, where he led the basketball team to an Elite Eight appearance and was awarded the John R. Wooden Award as the best collegiate basketball player in the nation. Ainge will begin work in the new role Dec. 15, 2021. Danny and his wife, Michelle, recently relocated to Utah.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter