After a tumultuous and controversial past few months, Robert Sarver has agreed to sell the Phoenix Suns to billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia for a valuation worth $4 billion. Naturally, the whole NBA world celebrated and showed excitement for the new owner and the departure of the disgraced Sarver.
Sarver put the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury up for sale after a workplace scandal revelation – involving racism and misogyny – led to an investigation and his eventual suspension. After months of waiting, a buyer has been found in Ishbia, who is well-known in NBA circles.
Ishbia is the president and CEO of Michigan-based mortgage lender company called United Wholesale Mortgage. He is said to be long interested in purchasing NBA and NFL teams, and he has strong basketball connections since he is part of the Michigan State Spartans’ 2000 national championship team after joining the team as a walk-on. Per ESPN, he has maintained a close relationship with Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo.
After news of the deal surfaced, fans quickly took to Twitter to react to the news. Magic Johnson, who is a Michigan State product himself, shared his excitement as Mat Ishbia brings his passion for basketball to the Suns.
“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!” Johnson wrote.
Others shared how impressed they are with Ishbia’s character, with many expressing their belief that he’s the right man to lead the Suns considering what happened to Robert Sarver.
“Mat Ishbia he seems like a true family man. He’s 42, runs one of the largest mortgage companies in the US, three kids and is home every night by 6:45 PM to be with the kids,” Espo of PHNX Sports added. “Sounds like a genuine guy who knows basketball as a member of the 2000 Michigan State championship.”
“Congratulations to Mat Ishbia on buying the Phoenix Suns. Good man. Phoenix is lucky to have him,” another fan added.
Meanwhile, other fans were simply happy to have a new owner as the team can finally move on from Sarver.
Suns got a new owner with deep pockets AND actually loves hoops pic.twitter.com/Sfo38qrFAZ
— 🇭🇹 (@KBI_6) December 20, 2022
Suns fans to Robert Sarver after the news pic.twitter.com/olOmDUeMED
— TRIBAL THRASHER (@TribeAlive) December 20, 2022
Mat Ishbia’s purchase of the Suns will only be completed after a background check and upon approval from the board of governors. However, this issue is expected to come up as all parties complete the process and requirements of the sale.