Sports Illustrated's Alex Prewitt and Jon Wertheim obtained and released a nine-plus-minute video of Phoenix Suns governor Robert Sarver—whom the NBA is currently investigating over allegations of racist and misogynistic behavior and creating a toxic workplace environment—doing a memorial roast of former minority governor Dick Heckmann, who died in October 2020 of complications from a degenerative disease.
In his speech, Sarver shared a number of sexually explicit stories and jokes.
In one excerpt, he said of Heckmann's sons: "We just bought the team in June of 2004. My biggest concerns were ticket sales, sponsorship revenue, trying to sign some players, getting a winning record—what I really know is my biggest concern was the Heckmann boys were f--king their way through the cheerleading team."
Prewitt and Wertheim noted the roast was in keeping with Heckmann's wishes, and his wife Wendy told them that Sarver's remarks were in the spirit of the event and did not offend her.
"It was a roast—that's what my husband wanted," she said. "He wanted everybody to laugh at his expense, basically, and tell funny stories, and that's what everybody did."
Sarver also said that "Dick was chasing everything that moved in Scottsdale. And speaking of—someone said he left his DNA. He did leave his DNA in Steve Nash's socks somewhere in the locker room."
At one point, Sarver made fun of someone in the crowd who wasn't paying attention to his speech and instead was using his phone.
"This guy's got a make-believe deal going on over here at f--king three in the morning," he said. "You merging on a SPAC, or you lining up a hooker over there? What are you doing? It's a goddamn memorial service. F--king idiot, Jesus Christ. I'm gonna guess his receptionist has small tits. But, he has no idea; he's just drinking his wine."
Sarver then addressed Heckmann's family, joking: "Look at how good you guys all turned out. I never would have believed it, to be honest with you. I mean, you're married . You got kids. You got a family. You got a business. You're making money. It's a f--king miracle, really. Compared to where you guys started 17 years ago, it's unbelievable. Yeah, I mean we're lucky we still own the franchise. In today's environment, we'd have lost it a long time ago."
Given the NBA's current investigation into Sarver, that last sentiment might be put to the test.
ESPN's Baxter Holmes interviewed 70 current and former employees of the Suns during Sarver's time at the helm, hearing testimonies of the team governor using the N-word and other racially insensitive and misogynistic language.
"The level of misogyny and racism is beyond the pale," a team co-governor told Baxter regarding Sarver. "It's embarrassing as an owner."
Wendy responded to those allegations.
"That is not the Robert that I know," she said. "Robert is a really good person and I've never heard him say anything derogatory or anything with any kind of racial flair or any kind of sexist flair or anything—he's never done that in my presence."