Ryan Smith Talks Jazz, Golf, And Danny Ainge

Aug 19, 2021, 2:41 PM | Updated: 2:54 pm

Ryan Smith at the Utah Open (Photo: Sam Farnsworth/KSL Sports)...

Ryan Smith at the Utah Open (Photo: Sam Farnsworth/KSL Sports)

(Photo: Sam Farnsworth/KSL Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Open is this week and it’s being hosted by the Riverside Country Club which happens to be the favorite golf course of Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith. During Thursday’s events, Smith discussed which Jazz players have taken up golf, and his relationship with former BYU legend Danny Ainge.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic was a major setback for the world of sports, it presented a unique opportunity for NBA players who completed the 2019-20 season at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

One of the perks made available for players who traveled to the bubble was access to three Disney World golf courses where many NBA players took up golf for the first time.


“Everyone’s playing golf now,” Smith said. “A lot of this for the NBA guys started in the bubble where everyone went to the bubble with a set of golf clubs.”

The league has several avid golfers superstars Chris Paul and Steph Curry but has started to take a firmer grip across the NBA.

“People who had never grown up playing are now playing,” Smith said. “Whether it’s Dwyane Wade, or Mike Conley or Donovan [Mitchell] playing, I’ve played a lot of golf with all of them.”

Conley had been an avid golfer throughout his life, but recently Wade, who bought a share of the team in April, and Jazz players like Mitchell and Royce O’Neale have shared their interest in the game on social media.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade)

“I think all of these guys playing is definitely a massive positive,” Smith said, “and incredible marketing and branding for the game of golf.”

Another famous name that routinely hits the links with Smith is BYU great and former Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge who recently stepped down from his position.

Despite being seen on the course together, Smith said there’s no reason to read into that relationship in regards to a future role with the Jazz front office.

“I’ve played golf with Danny Ainge for 20 years,” Smith said. “I know the media likes to write about it like there’s this thing going on with Danny, but Danny has been a mentor and a friend for 20 years.”

The Utah Open runs through the weekend and included the KSL Pro-Am that included former BYU quarterback Robbie Bosco, and Mitch Jensen and Ned Siegfried who also sponsored the event. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is among the names in Utah for the tournament.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Ben Anderson

Ausar Thompson speaks with the media during the NBA Draft Combine at the Wintrust Arena on May 17, ...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Post Combine 2023 NBA Mock Draft Roundup

The Utah Jazz will be selecting ninth overall in the 2023 NBA draft, but the player they’ll select varies widely with each mock draft.

3 days ago

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...

Ben Anderson

Does Nuggets, Heat Finals Offer Championship Hope To Jazz?

Can the Utah Jazz replicate the championship blueprint that the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat have used to reach the NBA Finals?

4 days ago

Dillon Jones - Weber State Wildcats...

Ben Anderson

Report: Dillon Jones To Skip NBA Draft, Return To Weber State

Dillon Jones has reportedly removed his name from the NBA Draft and will return to Weber State for his senior season. 

5 days ago

Cam Whitmore #22 of the Villanova Wildcats...

Ben Anderson

Cam Whitmore NBA Draft Analysis

The Utah Jazz own a top-10 pick in the 2023 NBA draft, and one of the players they’ll consider in June is Villanova wing Cam Whitmore.

5 days ago


Ben Anderson

Walker Kessler To Serve As NBA Finals Correspondent

Utah Jazz rookie standout Walker Kessler will serve as an NBA Finals media correspondent during the 2023 NBA Finals. 

5 days ago

Gradey Dick #4 of the Kansas Jayhawks (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)...

Ben Anderson

Gradey Dick NBA Draft Analysis

The Utah Jazz own three first-round selections in the 2023 NBA draft and will surely look closely at Kansas wing Gradey Dick.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.

ksl sports logos...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.

Ryan Smith Talks Jazz, Golf, And Danny Ainge