Mat Ishbia assumes control of Suns, vows to lead on and off court

Feb 7, 2023, 2:10 PM | Updated: 2:22 pm
Mat Ishbia, left, watches with his family during the second half of an NBA basketball game between ...

Mat Ishbia, left, watches with his family during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons in Detroit, on Feb. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

It’s officially official.

Less than 24 hours after the NBA board of governors approved the Phoenix Suns and Mercury being sold by Robert Sarver to Mat Ishbia by a 29-0 vote, the transaction was finalized on Tuesday.

“This is the culmination of a lifelong dream,” Ishbia said in a release through the team. “I love the game of basketball deeply but it’s so much more than that for me.

“Throughout my life, basketball has given me a second family, an education, and so much joy. I am honored to be the next steward of this community’s franchises in the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury and am totally committed to building an incredible organization on and off the floor.”

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reports Ishbia and his brother, Justin, will own 57% of the team for the payment that values the Suns at $4 billion.

Three minority owners from the current ownership group of the team, including Jahm Najafi, will not be selling any of their shares. Many of the remaining partners, however, are selling 25% of their stakes, which will triple their initial investments. Only one minority owner has sold the entirety of their stake.

Najafi, through his own PR department, released a statement of support for Ishbia’s approval as the controlling owner.

“In recognition of our enthusiasm for Mat, as the new steward of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, Cheryl and I have decided to maintain all of our family’s investment in the team and to support fully Mat’s commitment to a positive workplace environment, social justice and dignity for all employees and players,” said Najafi, who had been publically critical of Sarver as the NBA investigated his workplace conduct that eventually led to his decision to sell the team.

“I personally look forward to working with him and am honored to continue as vice chairman and alternate on the NBA Board of Governors. We are excited for this new chapter of our invaluable community treasure.”

In the Suns’ release, Justin Ishbia was named as an alternate governor as well.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to make a positive impact on the Phoenix sports ecosystem and community through a people-first, family approach,” Justin Ishbia said. “My brother and I look forward to bringing our passion for basketball and competitive spirit to the Valley.”

Mat Ishbia is chairman, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), a mortgage lending firm.

Justin Ishbia is the founder and managing partner of Shore Capital Partners, one of the nation’s best performing private equity firms.

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