The NBA offseason was full of groundbreaking stories and drama, from the players all the way to the ownership level.
With so much talk of trades and free agent signings, it’s easy for fans to forget the dysfunction that was being reported in the Phoenix Suns organization. A report surfaced citing years of misconduct and a toxic workplace environment caused by former Suns owner Robert Sarver.
After the year-long investigation concluded, the NBA levied a $10 million fine and a one-year suspension for Sarver. However, numerous people felt the punishment was too light and the league was criticized for it, especially by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
Public pressure began to mount, and ultimately Sarver agreed to put the team up for sale which opened the door for billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia to purchase the Suns. Ishbia purchased the franchise for a record $4 billion and Laker legend Magic Johnson revealed he had spoken to the new Suns owner where he congratulated him on the deal, via his Twitter account:
I had a great call with fellow Spartan Mat Ishbia congratulating him on his purchase of the Phoenix Suns. He’s going to do great things not only for the Suns organization, but for the entire league. All of the other 29 NBA teams better watch out because Mat’s a winner!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 20, 2022
Ishbia is no stranger to basketball as he was a walk-on at Michigan State and was part of the university’s 2000 national championship team under Tom Izzo. Since then, Ishbia has maintained relationships with several NBA owners and is well-regarded around the league office and commissioner Adam Silver.
With Sarver no longer a governor, the Suns and Phoenix Mercury franchises can begin to move forward under Ishbia and hopefully change the negative culture that’s permeated the teams. Ishbia and his group have a lot of work to do, but his purchase signals a brighter future for those teams and the rest of the NBA.
LeBron James says he’s proud to be part of NBA after Robert Sarver announces he’s selling Suns
For a long time, James has been one of the most outspoken professional athletes when it comes to injustices and it was no different when the reports on Sarver’s tenure came to light. After initially being critical of the league’s punishment, he later said how proud he was to be in the NBA when Sarver finally made the decision to sell the team.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!