Who is Mat Ishbia, the billionaire executive and the Phoenix Suns owner?
Suns’ owner Mat Ishbia, who took over midseason from Robert Sarver, got into a tiff with Nikola Jokic in game 4 of the Western Conference semis.
In a dramatic turn of events during Sunday’s Game 4 between the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns, a bizarre incident involving a two-time MVP, a team owner, and a retired Hall of Fame point guard unfolded during the second quarter.
The incident began with 2:36 remaining in the second quarter when Suns guard Josh Okogie fell into the stands while chasing a loose ball out of bounds. The ball ended up in the possession of a fan sitting courtside, but it was Denver’s Nikola Jokić who took it upon himself to retrieve the ball with great force, snatching it away from the fan.
As it turns out, the fan was none other than Suns owner Mat Ishbia, who purchased the team midseason from Robert Sarver. In a shocking turn of events, Jokić shoved Ishbia in the chest, causing the owner to fall back into his seat.
This was Ishbia’s declaration on social media about the incident mentioned above.
It was a long-awaited development when Robert Sarver finally sold the Phoenix Suns, ending the tumultuous past two seasons. Following the scandal involving Sarver’s use of racist and sexist language and a string of misogynistic behavior, the owner of the WNBA’s Mercury and NBA’s Suns has found a buyer in Mat Ishbia, who reportedly acquired both franchises for a sum of $4 billion.
Who’s Matt Ishbia?
Back in 1998, Mat Ishbia was a walk-on point guard at Michigan State and played in three straight Final Fours with them, winning the NCAA National Championship in 2000.
After graduating from Michigan State, Mat went to work for his father, Jeff, an attorney and entrepreneur who had begun United Wholesale Mortgage in 1986 as a side gig to his day job. When young Mat joined, he was the 12th employee of a company now employing over 6700 people.
Rising through the company to CEO, Ishbia is now, at 42 years old, worth $5.1 billion, thanks to UWM becoming the number one wholesale mortgage lender in the country, a position they have held since 2015.
With a love of sports, Ishbia and United Shore, the parent company of UWM, have sponsored an independent professional baseball league and an e-sports team. They donated $500k to Michigan State to create a faculty position and later donated $32 million to their athletic program. Now Ishbia has truly moved into the big-time, securing ownership of an NBA and WNBA franchise.
The sale of the Phoenix Suns is the largest team purchase in NBA history, beating Joe Tsai’s 2019 purchase of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center by a cool $700 million.