Larry Fitzgerald loves his basketball. For a long time, he's had courtside seats at Phoenix Suns games, a frequent spectator when he can get over to games.
Larry Fitzgerald loves his business and his business interests. He's smart with his (significant amount of) money. Part of that includes his quest to forge relationships with high-powered business leaders, to learn how they got to where they got to and made their fortunes. One of those guys has been Suns owner Robert Sarver, who made his money in banking. The two had grown close enough that the news Wednesday that Fitz had purchased a minority stake in the Suns was no surprise.
The news comes just about a week after Fitz re-signed with the Cardinals for one season, committing to play a 17th season in 2020.
"It's an honor to have the opportunity to invest in the Suns, a historic franchise with a very bright future," Fitzgerald said in a tweet. "I'm blessed to call the Phoenix community and the state of Arizona my home and I'm excited to make a long-term commitment as an owner, but more importantly as a fan!"
Fitzgerald becomes the second active NFL player with a piece of an NBA franchise. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had already bought into the Milwaukee Bucks.
Fitz and Sarver have known each other a long time. Fitzgerald has those kinds of business aspirations once he finishes playing football (which is why he's not going to coach or do TV; he's aiming much higher up the food chain.) He soaks up what he can of the business acumen of these high-powered people. Even if Sarver's tenure as Suns' owner hasn't been successful, no one can argue that he has been a success in business.
Between proximity and the sport itself, Fitzgerald getting involved with Sarver and the Suns made so much sense and the relationship has just grown over the years. Fitzgerald even hosted Sarver at the Cardinals' facility last year. He sat in on parts of the Suns interview process when Sarver was going through his most recent front-office overhaul.
Sarver told NFL.com that Fitzgerald will be an advisor and resource to the Suns' business and basketball staff. Fitz will also be an advisor to players for both the Suns and Mercury, Phoenix's WNBA franchise.
There is a tremendous amount of reciprocal respect between the men. ESPN reported that Fitz's purchase has been in the works for months, and to be honest, it had felt like a matter of when and not if.
So now Fitz is an owner of a sports team. It feels like the first step -- at least publicly -- of Fitz's future empire.