Nothing will force an NBA owner to sell his team faster than a racism controversy. Owner Robert Sarver announced on Wednesday that he has started the process of selling his NBA franchise the Phoenix Suns and his WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. According to the Bleacher Report, the league may have pressured him to sell.
His announcement comes after Sarver was suspended by the league for one year and fined $10 million for engaging in “conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards.” Sarver was accused of using the N-word at least 5-times as well as sexually inappropriate comments to women colleagues.
More than 320 current and former staffers were interviewed for the investigation. NBA officials also examined over 80,000 documents tied to Sarver including emails, text messages, and videos, the report, which was made public, noted.
“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” Sarver said in a statement.
“I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love. But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible — that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”
Sarver’s announcement that he is selling his teams has attracted a lot of attention from rich folks who may want to purchase the franchises.
According to Bleacher Report, former Disney CEO Bob Iger, Amazon founder and ex-CEO Jeff Bezos, Oracle co-founder and past CEO Larry Ellison, and Washington Wizards minority governor Laurene Powell Jobs all could be interested in purchasing the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. Sarver has owned the teams since 2004 and Forbes estimated in 2021 that the Suns were worth $1.8 billion, a price tag that shouldn’t be a problem for the billionaires listed above.
But what about the culture? The NBA is 73.2% black, yet only has one principal owner who is Black, Micheal Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. The NBA needs more diversity within ownership and buying the Phoenix Suns and Mercury could be the opportunity to help get us there.
Here are a few Black entrepreneurs we would like to see hop in the conversation about buying the Suns and Mercury. Just imagine if they all teamed up to create the Megatron of NBA owners.
Jay-Z is someone we would absolutely love as an NBA owner. The rapper and business mogul has already been a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets, and his Roc Nation managing company manages some of the biggest athletes in the game. He was also rumored at one point to be on the shortlist to buy an NFL franchise as well.
2. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs
At one point Diddy was interested in owning the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, but the bid ultimately went to David Tepper for about $2.2. billion. Even though he didn’t get the Panthers, having Diddy as a principal owner in the NBA would do wonders for the culture. Diddy’s marketing brilliance and brand building would take the Suns franchise to the next level.
3. Lebron James
After Lebron James is done playing the game of basketball, there is no question his legacy will not stop there. But wouldn’t it be amazing if Lebron made the jump to NBA ownership before he stopped playing! We understand that is highly unlikely, but maybe it could work if he teamed up with a few others from our list. (Wishful thinking…)
Oprah is a mega-star and has been an important figure in the culture for decades. If she owned an NBA team, with her connections, money, and media skills she could easily turn an NBA franchise into a household name.
4. Serena Williams
Serena Williams is arguably the best tennis player to ever live. But now that her tennis career is coming to an end we want to see her as an NBA owner. She’s mentioned she would like a future in venture capitalism, but the culture would love to see her in an owner’s box.