Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald buys ownership share of Phoenix Suns
Larry Fitzgerald, the future Hall of Fame Arizona Cardinals receiver, has purchased a minority ownership share of the Phoenix Suns, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski first reported.
Fitzgerald confirmed that news to NFL.com’s Jim Trotter.
“It’s an investment in something I have supported since I’ve been in Arizona,” the receiver told NFL.com. “It gives me another connection in the community I love and always will live in. It’s a long-term commitment I wanted to make for life after football.”
Fitzgerald told Trotter that the opportunity to purchase a piece of the NBA team was proposed to him two years ago by Suns owner Robert Sarver.
Along with the announcement, the Suns released a video of Fitzgerald talking about his investment with Suns guard Devin Booker.
One of the greatest to ever do it has invested in your Suns.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 22, 2020
Though Fitzgerald told NFL.com he was focused on the Cardinals’ upcoming season, he will be involved in business and basketball operations.
John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station reports that he will be an advisor to players of the Suns and Mercury, and will also be available to front office staff.
Fitzgerald becomes the second player in the NFL to buy a stake in an NBA team, joining Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who owns a piece of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The news that dropped Wednesday morning isn’t surprising. Fitzgerald has a close relationship with Sarver and even sat in on front office interviews before the team hired Jeff Bower as vice president of basketball operations.
“I have a special place in my heart for the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, and I have a great deal of respect for Robert,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “He has become a dear friend and a trusted confidante. He is a big part of why I am making this commitment.”
In December 2018, the receiver also publicly pushed fans and the city of Phoenix to support a vote to approve arena renovations for the Suns’ home, Talking Stick Resort Arena. That agreement eventually passed.
“Larry has been a great ambassador for our organization for years,” Sarver said in a team statement. “He is an Arizona icon and a businessman, passionate philanthropist and leader. He brings a unique perspective from outside basketball but still grounded in sport, and we welcome him as a valued partner and investor.”
Just a week ago, Fitzgerald was in the headlines after he decided to return for his 17th NFL season, all of which have been spent in Arizona. He signed a one-year extension for a base salary of $11 million, according to multiple reports.
Fitzgerald, who is second all-time in career receiving yards, led the Cardinals with 804 receiving yards in 2019 under first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
As for the off-the-field interests, Fitzgerald spoke to his shadowing of Sarver during the coaching search on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta last April.
“I’ve shadowed Magic Johnson, I’ve shadowed Donald Trump, I’ve shadowed numerous CEOs of Fortune 500 companies all across the country,” he said. “I love learning. I love just trying to see what makes everybody tick and I’m just a guy who likes to learn so this is no different from anything else I’ve done. It’s right on par with that.”
ESPN reported there had been a partnership “in the works for months, if not longer” regarding Fitzgerald’s interest in buying a stake in the Suns. The receiver hinted last April that it was something he would be interested in.
“I don’t know if that’s an option or not,” Fitzgerald told Bickley & Marotta. “I don’t know. It would be great to have a minority position but I don’t know. We’ll see. Maybe in the future.”