It’s safe to say Robert Sarver is facing some pretty tough times right now. Not only is he on the verge of selling his two teams, the NBA's Phoenix Suns and WNBA's Phoenix Mercury franchises, but he’s facing a hefty fine.
Thankfully, Sarver has his wife, Penny Sanders, there by his side just as she has been in the past. Keep reading to find out more about Sarver’s wife and her role as Sarver walks away from his two professional basketball teams.
Robert Sarver has been married to his wife for 25 years
Sarver and Sanders have been married since 1996. The couple met in Scottsdale, Ariz., four years before they decided to tie the knot. A native of Kansas City, Sanders moved to Arizona after graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in business in 1990. She was working at Prentice-Hall when she met Sarver.
When the couple met, Sarver was well on his way to becoming one of the wealthiest people in Arizona. As the son of prominent Tucson businessman Jack Sarver, Sarver started working for his father’s savings and loan company when he was only 16 years old.
After graduating from the University of Arizona in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Sarver founded the National Bank of Tucson in 1984. The bank expanded and became the National Bank of Arizona, the largest independent bank in the state. Sarver sold the Arizona bank 10 years later and bought another one, this time in San Diego.
In 2003, Sarver joined Western Alliance Bancorporation (WAL) as the company’s chairman, president, and CEO, though he has since relinquished those roles to others.
Robert Sarver made his money through real estate.
While he was selling and buying community bank chains, Sarver was also involved with real estate company Southwest Value Partners, which he helped co-found in 1990. One of the company’s largest assets was the Emerald Plaza in San Diego. In 2004, Southwest Value sold the Emerald Plaza along with a couple of other San Diego buildings for $274.5 million.
The money Sarver made from the sale of the San Diego buildings wasn’t even close to the record $401 million he paid for the Phoenix Suns in 2004. A lifelong sports fan, Sarver also bought the Phoenix Mercury WNBA team and Spanish professional football team RCD Mallorca.
In September 2022, however, Sarver announced that he would begin the process of selling the two teams. Sarver faced a year suspension along with a $10 million fine after an NBA investigation revealed that he had "used the N-word at least five times when recounting the statements of others," ESPN reported. He was also accused of displaying "inequitable conduct toward female employees" and making "sex-related comments."
As the investigation was unfolding, Sanders was also accused of sending intimidating messages to former Phoenix Suns employees. In one message, Sanders reportedly accused one of the employees of trying to destroy her husband and family.
What's Robert Sarver’s net worth?
Altogether, Sarver has accumulated a net worth of $800 million. He has donated some of his wealth to his alma mater, the University of Arizona, to fund the Sarver Heart Center in his father’s honor.
Robert Sarver netted over $19 million on the sale of his Arizona home.
The Sarver-Sanders family also got a boost in income on the 2019 sale of their Arizona home. The Paradise Valley home, which had over 28,000 square feet on five acres, sold for $19.25 million. It was the highest price ever paid for a single-family home in the state.
How does Robert Sarver’s wife make money?
While it isn't quite clear what Sanders does for a living as she isn't active on social media, one thing is certain, she supports her husband's business endeavors. Sanders has been spotted on multiple occasions sitting bedside Sarver on the sidelines of various basketball games.