Now that Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver announced he's selling the team, more stories about how he treated his employees and players have gone public. In 2021, ESPN released a report on how Sarver approached his workplace, leading the NBA to investigate his racism and sexism charges.
Sarver was proven guilty, suspended, and fined ($10 million) by the league, which led to his decision to sell the Suns. Sarver may be close to leaving the NBA for good, but that doesn't mean the stories about him will ever be forgotten.
Matt Barnes opens up about his altercation with Sarver
One former player that recently shared his unpleasant experience with Sarver in the past is Matt Barnes, who played for the Suns in 2008. According to Barnes, he and Sarver once got into an altercation in the middle of a game because the latter told the former that he wasn't allowed to talk to Suns fans. At that time, Barnes was already playing for the Los Angeles Lakers but still confronted Sarver because he felt the owner was disrespectful.
"I had a situation with him too, I want to say like in 2011 or 12 after I left there. I was in a game and I was talking to this 13-year-old kid and his dad courtside. You know me, I had a fun back-and-forth, talking trash, nothing bad about it. And someone was shooting a free throw, and I heard someone behind me say, 'Don't talk to my f*king fans. And I'm like, 'Who's he talking to?' I turned around and it was Sarver and I'm like, "Motherf**ker, I'll slap the s**t out of you in front of your wife," Barnes said in his latest appearance on the VLAD TV podcast.
Barnes and Sarver ended up costing themselves money as they were fined for going at it in the middle of a game.
Barnes believes Sarver should've been kicked out of the NBA.
When news about Sarver's suspension was released, many players (former and current), NBA analysts, and fans believed that the punishment should've been worst. Barnes felt that Sarver got off the hook easily and should've instead been kicked out of the NBA. The former Suns forward believes Server's light punishment was a bad look for the league, most especially Adam Silver, who should've approached the issue more rigorously.
Ultimately, Sarver decided to sell the Suns, and that alone made the NBA a better league and workplace. Because as Barnes said, there's no place for hate in the league, especially if it involves racism and sexism.