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Feb. 7, 2023 (Staff Writer)- Mat Ishbia, Chairman and CEO of mortgage lender United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), received approval from the NBA Board of Governors to purchase a 57% share in the Phoenix Suns. Ishbia will be sharing ownership with his brother, Justin. Mat will serve as governor with Justin serving as alternate governor. Justin Ishbia is the founder and managing partner of Shore Capital Partners, one of the nation’s best performing private equity firms. The vote was nearly unanimous, with the one abstaining vote coming from the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Many know him as Dan Gilbert, the owner of rival mortgage company Rocket Mortgage. 


The sales price of $4bn makes this the largest sale of an NBA franchise in league history and includes the purchase of the WNBA team the Phoenix Mercury. The previous majority owner, Robert Sarver, announced his intent to sell his entire position of the team in September of last year. His announcement to sell came at the same time he was suspended for one year for alleged mistreatment of Suns employees. 


Mat Ishbia, a native of Michigan, has had a long history in sports, going back to when he was a walk-on guard for the Michigan State basketball. His support of his Alma Mater has continued after he graduated from college, with frequent donations given to the school’s athletic department. He has vocally expressed his desire to have ownership interest in a major sports team and had previously entered bids to purchase NFL teams The Washington Commanders and the Denver Broncos. Both of those bids were unsuccessful. 


“This is the culmination of a lifelong dream,” Ishbia said in a release through the team. “I love the game of basketball deeply but it’s so much more than that for me. “Throughout my life, basketball has given me a second family, an education, and so much joy. I am honored to be the next steward of this community’s franchises in the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury and am totally committed to building an incredible organization on and off the floor.” The purchase by the Ishbia brothers will make them majority owners, with a combined 57% stake in the team.