On the day the NBA Finals began, the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns owners were on the golf course together. Aaron Rodgers competed in the fourth installment of “The Match” while Larry Fitzgerald called the game as a television analyst. Both have minority stakes in the NBA franchises that reside in their football team’s backyards. Which NFL legend wins a (basketball) ring after the NBA Finals?
Aaron Rodgers: How he became a Milwaukee Bucks owner
Rodgers became the first NFL player to become part-owner of an NBA franchise when he purchased a 1% stake in 2017. He’d wanted in on the original purchase of the Bucks in 2014 when the team sold for $550 million, but there were too many moving parts. So, when the 1% stake opened, he leaped at the opportunity.
Rodgers spoke with the Journal Sentinel and PackersNews.com about why he chose this ownership path.
“I just wanted to be involved, first of all because I love basketball and second because I’ve been here for so long I wanted, besides my Packer connection, just another natural connection to the state that I love and that I’ve grown up in. So when the opportunity was there I wanted it to happen right away. It didn’t happen for a few years and a few different representations and then it turned out it just took a call to (Bucks president) Peter (Feigin) and then a call with Wes and then we made it happen.”
It was a financially savvy venture for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Look no further than the Golden State Warriors to see how well the NBA is doing. The Bucks themselves have nearly doubled their franchise value since 2014.
Aaron Rodgers after football
Rodgers has a love for basketball and what appears to be a general interest in the state of Wisconsin after his NFL career ends. He wants something in his post-playing transition to keep the competitive juices flowing. Still, he said he has no interest in being a general manager or a commentator. That really only leaves one option.
There’s no getting around it — Aaron Rodgers is a pioneer in this space.
Larry Fitzgerald: How he became a Phoenix Suns owner
Fitzgerald may finally win a ring in the state of Arizona. The future Hall of Fame wide receiver had a close call in Super Bowl XLIII when the Cardinals lost to the Steelers in dramatic fashion. Now is his chance, albeit in a sport he’s not physically competing in. The Suns currently hold a 2-0 series lead over the Bucks.
Fitzgerald has long been an ambassador for the city of Phoenix and the state of Arizona, just as Rodgers has been for Wisconsin. He’s one of the largest celebrities in the state and, like Rodgers, one of the best 100 or so NFL players ever.
Fitzgerald has always loved basketball and has been a supporter of the Suns and the WNBA’s Mercury. His purchase of a minority stake in the Suns made him the second NFL player to purchase ownership in an NBA franchise. Now, just over a year later, the Suns have made it to the pinnacle of the NBA postseason. They are on the verge of winning a championship.
Larry Fitzgerald’s other business ventures
Fitzgerald is no stranger to high-level business ventures. In July of 2020, it was announced that Fitzgerald would have a seat on the Board of Directors for Dick’s Sporting Goods. Beat that, Aaron Rodgers!
There really isn’t too much Fitzgerald doesn’t have his hands in. He dabbles in steakhouse dining with his two friends Jeff and Mike Mastro, who own Steak 44 and Dominick’s Steakhouse. Fitzgerald also owns a travel company, Nomad Hill, which provides “life-changing luxury travel” to its customers. Furthermore, he’s worked in the entertainment industry, hosting parties for companies treating their employees; he’s also involved in a certified mailing business.
Larry Fitzgerald and Aaron Rodgers: Future “The Match” opponents?
Fitzgerald is quite the stick himself. Golf and Arizona are like iced tea and lemonade. They belong together. He lives that Phoenix lifestyle. Fitzgerald’s been in the mid-single digits as a handicap, which is closer to that of Rodgers. He already won the Pebble Beach Pro-AM once. Maybe he could add another golf win to his collection.