Phoenix Suns select Sam Garvin as team's interim governor during Robert Sarver suspension

Dana Scott
Arizona Republic

Sam Garvin, vice chairman and a minority owner of the the Phoenix Suns, was chosen by the team to serve as interim governor during Robert Sarver's year-long suspension.

The league granted Garvin acting authority as governor while it processes his application to serve as interim governor to replace Sarver, the team's majority owner, as represenative on the NBA Board of Governors, which is made up of team owners.

ESPN first reported the move Wednesday. The Republic later confirmed Garvin's name was submitted to the league.

The Suns did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Arizona Republic.

Garvin has held a minority stake in the team since 2004, when Sarver purchased the franchise, and has been the Suns' alternate governor since 2007. 

Sam Garvin

He is the founder of Phoenix-based Garvin Promotion Group, a promotions and marketing firm with more than 100 clients, according to his profile from the Suns. He previously owned Continental Promotion Group, which he founded in the Valley in 1989 and sold in 2005.

Garvin was one of 13 Suns minority owners to who signed a statement to support Sarver after ESPN reported the allegations of racism and misogyny against Sarver last November.

On Tuesday, the NBA announced the findings of a 10-month investigation into the allegations. Sarver was suspended for one year by the league and barred from all activites and locations involving the Suns and Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA. Sarver is majority owner of that franchise as well. Sarver remains majority owner of the two franchises during the suspension.

Sarver also was fined $10 million and order to complete workplace behavior training.

The investigation found numerous instances of workplace misconduct in the Suns organization by Sarver.

The league cited Sarver for repeated instances of racist remarks, sexually inappropriate comments, instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees and bullying by yelling and cursing at his employees during his ownership. 

Sarver denied the allegations when they first were reported, calling them "inaccurate and misleading." On Tuesday, he offered an apology to employees who he offended, but still took issue with the ''particulars'' of the investigation. 

MORE:Robert Sarver disagrees with 'particulars' of NBA investigation

Garvin has a history of praising Sarver's personal interactions with Suns employees.

After Sarver bought the team from former longtime Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, Garvin said in a 2014 interview with The Republic that one of Sarver's biggest adjustments was having worked in a large bank corporation and now becoming more personable and accessible with employees, partners and fans. 

"There's a lot more employee contact," Garvin said. "He's becoming really good at dealing with employees and people. That was a gap because Jerry was very good at that. Jerry would look at you and you'd think you were the only person in the world."

 The Republic's Duane Rankin contributed to this report. 

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