Did Mat Ishbia play basketball in college? Taking a closer look at Phoenix Suns owner’s basketball roots


Mat Ishbia is not just another billionaire owner of an NBA team. The successful businessman has strong ties to basketball as he used to play it in college. Not only did he play basketball, but he also won a championship.

The 43-year-old billionaire acquired the Phoenix Suns in February 2023. He purchased the team from Robert Sarver, who was forced to sell the team due to misconduct.

The Suns have done a great job under Ishbia’s ownership and could win it all in 2023. The owner of the team knows what it takes to win the title as he was victorious in 2000.

Mat Ishbia played college basketball at Michigan State

Mat Ishbia played college basketball as a walk-on player for the Michigan State Spartans. Standing at only 5-foot-10, Ishbia played at the point guard spot. His college career began in 1999 and ended three years later.

Ishbia was born in Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He was born and raised in the state, which is why it’s no surprise that he enrolled at Michigan State University at the age of 19.

Ishbia knows what it takes to win a championship (Image via Getty Images)Ishbia knows what it takes to win a championship (Image via Getty Images)
Ishbia knows what it takes to win a championship (Image via Getty Images)

In his first season with the Spartans, Mat Ishbia appeared in 18 games. His role on the team was limited as he played only 2.2 minutes per game. He ended up averaging 0.5 points and 0.2 assists per game during his freshman year.

Interestingly, the Michigan State Spartans won the national championship during Ishbia’s first year with the team. The point guard stepped on the floor during the championship game, but scored no points.

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In his second year with the team, Ishbia appeared in 17 games, averaging 2.1 minutes per game. The Spartans got very close to winning another title, but were eliminated by the Arizona Wildcats in the semifinal game.

Ishbia played for the Spartans for three years (Image via Getty Images)Ishbia played for the Spartans for three years (Image via Getty Images)
Ishbia played for the Spartans for three years (Image via Getty Images)

Ishbia’s role on the team did not increase in his third year either. This was his final year with the Spartans, and he averaged a career-high 1.1 points per game. This time, Michigan State had a short run in the NCAA Tournament, losing to NC State in the first round.

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During his college career, Ishbia made the All-Big Ten academic team three times.

The businessman graduated from college in 2003. However, he’s remained loyal to the university, donating $32 million to it in 2021. This was the largest one-time donation from a single person.

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