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#pounditThursday, March 30, 2023

Dan Gilbert pulled petty move with new Suns owner

Dan Gilbert in front of a microphone

May 21, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert speaks at a press conference introducing John Beilein as the head coach of the team at Cleveland Clinic Courts. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It turns out that LeBron James is not the only person that Dan Gilbert can be extremely petty with.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday that billionaire Mat Ishbia was officially approved by the NBA Board of Governors as the new owner of the Phoenix Suns. Ishbia is the CEO of top mortgage lender United Wholesale Mortgage and takes over for previous Suns owner Robert Sarver.

Charania noted that the vote to approve Ishbia passed with a tally of 29-0 (with the Cleveland Cavaliers abstaining). That means each of the 30 NBA franchises voted in favor of Ishbia … except for the Cavs.

Why is this so notable? That would be because of the Cavs owner Gilbert. Like Ishbia, Gilbert is in the mortgage lending business and is co-founder of Rocket Mortgage, a big competitor to Ishbia’s United Wholesale Mortgage. That has led to a bitter personal and professional rivalry between Gilbert and Ishbia. The two billionaires, who both attended Michigan State, have butted heads many times in the business world. You can read more about the Gilbert-Ishbia feud in this thread by Huddle Up’s Joe Pompliano.

While Gilbert was never going to be able to prevent Ishbia from buying an NBA team, his “abstain” vote here is a symbolic (and rather petty) way of protesting against Ishbia’s ownership. For Ishbia’s part, he might be able to get back at Gilbert by pulling off some power moves (like this rumored one) as the new Suns owner.


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