We got a Woj Bomb this morning. And it was about the Phoenix Suns!
No, it’s not a trade rumor or report, but the news is as refreshing as a cup of coffee on a cold morning.
One of the all-time greatest athletes in the history of the state of Arizona is not only going to play at least another year in the NFL but he’s also now part-owner of its oldest professional franchise.
ESPN story with @AdamSchefter on Arizona Cardinals 11-time All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald purchasing a minority stake with the Phoenix Suns. https://t.co/RzXd6s9Xoi— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 22, 2020
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the deal has been in the works for quite a while. Fitzgerald has been a Suns season ticket holder since 2005 and has been close with owner Robert Sarver for years. Now, they have made their partnership official.
The limited partnership has been in the works for months, if not longer, and it allows Fitzgerald to join Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who purchased a stake in the Milwaukee Bucks in 2018, as the only NFL players now a part of NBA ownership of teams.
You all remember Larry sitting in on the interviews for front office roles (that ended up going to the mysteriously quiet Jeff Bowers) last spring right? And scouting Ja Morant last March with Sarver and the rest of the front office? Well, now you know that he wasn’t just interning or chilling out with a buddy.
Now you know that bike-riding on Coronado Island with Suns managing partner Robert Sarver was really a part of the courting stage for ownership of the team.
Dad’s buddy snapped this pic of Fitz and Sun’s owner Rob Sarver cycling through Coronado Island. pic.twitter.com/A0l8OHt0w9— Johnny (@JohnnyTouchdown) July 29, 2019
Sarver has always been good with making business deals. He and former point guard Steve Nash are co-owners of a football club and many former players have spoken fondly of Sarver from a business point of view.
Woj reports that Fitzgerald won’t take any larger role until he’s done playing football, which is at least one more year away.
But who knows, you might see Fitz play 2-3 more years for the Cardinals in his quest to become the NFL’s all-time leading receiver. Right now, he is second behind Jerry Rice.
It’s good that someone of Larry’s local clout is joining the Suns ownership group. But that doesn’t mean he will suddenly make Robert Sarver human. Remember when Steve Kerr was a minority part of the original ownership group that bought the Suns in 2004 with Sarver? As General Manager for two years, Kerr eventually helped get the team to the Conference Finals but suddenly quit the team along with his assistant GM David Griffin a month later over salary squabbles for his front office staff.
Four years later, both Kerr and Griffin led their new teams to the NBA Finals. Kerr’s Warriors appeared in five straight Finals (winning three) while Griffin’s Cavaliers faced off against them three straight times (winning one).
Let’s hope Larry’s high profile minority ownership has a better ending for Suns fans than Kerr’s.
For those keeping tabs on the racial divide between professional athletes and those who manage the day-to-day operations of sports franchises, the Suns now have African Americans as coach, general manager and high profile minority owner. None of those are unique on their own, but the Suns are one of the only NBA teams to ever have all three in place at the same time.