On the court with Suns owner Robert Sarver

Robert Sarver is the owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team.

After 11 years after buying the team from Jerry Colangelo, who was a larger than life figure, Sarver is carving his own identity.

In the early days, Sarver was anything from low key. He unabashedly brandished a foam finger, and hurled himself down the court like a human bowling ball to entertain the crowd.

"I've never tried to be someone different than I've always been... the reality is that is that's just me being me, that's just who I am," said Robert Sarver.

FOX 10 asked Sarver if he had to dial it bag, or if his wife had him dial it back. "I think I dialed it back with age, and she's tried, she's tried," he said.

In 1968, the Suns became the first major sports team in Phoenix. Sarver attended his first game that season.

FOX 10 asked him when he was 8-years-old if he thought he would end up being the owner. "No... it's a dream for me, or any kid that loves sports to get into a position, to be involved at this level it's great," said Sarver.

He says owning the Suns comes with responsibility. 

"It's kind of a community asset, so for the period of time I own it, I'm the custodian of it, and even though maybe I own it, in reality it kind of belongs to the community," he said.

A few months ago Sarver made that very clear during a pre-season game against the San Antonio Spurs. Some of San Antonio's biggest stars did not make the trip. So Sarver walked over to the microphone and said, "This is not the game you paid your hard earned money to watch, I apologize for it. Thank you."

"A couple of kids behind me were like "where's Tim Duncan, and where's this one," I just didn't feel it was right," said Sarver. 

Even though it was a preseason Game, Sarver insisted it wasn't right. "That doesn't really matter because the fans are paying the same amount of money coming to a preseason game and a lot of fans that came to that game, that may have been the only game they get a chance to see," he said.

Sarver says he mostly stays out of local politics, but in 2010 when the state passed a tough anti-immigration law, Sarver had the team don it's "Los Suns" uniforms.

"I didn't view it as political; I'm against illegal immigration. What I looked at that what I didn't like was the ability for cops to stop people at random and ask for ID, and I thought it would lead to people with brown skin to be stopped more often than people that don't... and I also thought by passing that law would be very bad for our state which it turned out to have been, it really set us back," said Sarver.

In his 11th year as the team's owner, Sarver is starting to find his groove, and after some rocky years the team is winning again.

So how big of a deal would it be to bring a championship home? "It's probably the top priority for me in terms of business, and trying to get a championship to this community," he said.

Sarver's made several changes along the way. Not only on the court, but in the front office. He's on his 4th general manager.

So is Sarver tough to work for? "I would say I'm tough to work for, I would... I can be impatient, and demanding, so yeah I would say overall I'm hard to work for, I'd probably agree with that," said Sarver. "I also work hard, try to make the people who work for me successful."

Sarver is already talking about building a new arena; he says the current arena is now the smallest building in terms of square footage in the National Basketball Association. 

"It's possible to re-tool it but it would be a very poor investment. In some ways it's like an old house, the bathrooms are too small, the kitchen is too small, you don't have enough storage... and does it really make sense to put $250 million into redoing a facility that just won't be right when you're done, or would you rather spend $450 or $500 million and have a brand new one that can really take you for the next 30 years," he said.

So how does Sarver plan to make this a Suns town again, now that the Cardinals have taken the spot. "Well, it's winning, it's as simple as that," said Sarver.
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