Robert Sarver purchased the Phoenix Suns in 2004.
But he initially hoped to own a different NBA franchise.
The Suns’ Managing Partner revealed in a recent interview that he wanted to own an NBA team in Las Vegas.
He related the story to the Suns’ Lindsey Smith in a recent entry of the team’s video production, The Outlet.
“It’s not something I thought about for a long time, to be honest with you,” Sarver said. “I had some good fortune in California and it was just an introductory meeting I thought with Commissioner (David) Stern, to let him know that if there ever was an opportunity for a new franchise in Las Vegas, that I would be interested. I went and talked to him about that. At the time I had a pretty good banking presence in Vegas and was there a fair amount and he said ‘You know, I don’t think that’s on the table right now, but it just so happens that the team in your own market just got put up for sale, and why don’t you talk to this individual who is the broker that’s selling the team.'”
Sarver continued: “And so I did and met Jerry Colangelo a couple of weeks later and we kind of shook hands on a deal maybe two or three weeks after that. It happened a lot faster than I thought it would happen, it just came together quick.”
Sarver bought the Suns for $404 million.
In February, Forbes put the team’s value at $1.625 billion, which makes it the 17th most valuable NBA team.
The team has gone up in value from $1.28 billion two years ago and from $1.5 billion in 2019.
Forbes listed the Suns as having $246 million in revenue and an operating income of $42 million.
In the interview, Sarver said he likes the challenge of being an NBA owner.
“Trying to figure out how to maneuver and outmanuever and grow as an owner of the team has been something that’s been of challenge to me and I like challenges,” he said. “In some ways, I look at it, kind of approach it like a board game. What do you have to do. What are the pieces and how do you have to prove and how do you have to get better.
“It’s been a real energizer at this stage of my career, to try to get this team back to where I want it to be. I think we’ve made a few steps the last few years, but there’s a long way to go.”