"I have a special place in my heart for the Phoenix Suns and (the WNBA's) Mercury, and I have a great deal of respect for (team owner) Robert (Sarver)," Fitzgerald said in a statement, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Adam Schefter. "He has become a dear friend and trusted confidante. He is a big part of why I am making this commitment."
Fitzgerald is the second NFL player to purchase a share of an NBA franchise. Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers officially became part of the Milwaukee Bucks' ownership group after buying a minority stake in the team in 2018.
Fitzgerald won't take up an active role with the NBA outfit until his NFL career is over, sources told Wojnarowski and Schefter. The 36-year-old signed a new one-year contract with the Cardinals earlier in January, confirming him for a 17th season.
The 11-time Pro Bowler has been closely linked with the Suns in recent years. He reportedly sat in on candidate interviews alongside Sarver before the team hired longtime executive Jeff Bower as an adviser to general manager James Jones last April. Fitzgerald is also a season-ticket holder with the Suns, according to Wojnarowski and Schefter, and has frequently been spotted courtside at the team's games.
Fitzgerald is the Cardinals' all-time leader in several receiving stats, including receptions (1,378), yards (17,083), and touchdowns (120). He also ranks second in the NFL in all-time receiving yards - 5,812 back of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.