Ever since I was a small boy, I loved the Phoenix Suns. My older brother was a die hard Suns fan, and he got me hooked on it as a kid. I remember the days of the Madhouse on McDowell. And I remember the mighty day, that one Charles Barkley came to Phoenix.
I watched that season as the Suns went 62-20. And made it to the NBA Finals. That season, Easter day, 1993, was the day I went to my first Suns game. It was the most exciting day of my life, my brother took me and the Suns beat the Utah Jazz to capture the Pacific Division title. Sadly, sitting in the hospital room where my Dad had just undergone triple bypass surgery, I watched as John Paxson rose up, and launched a wide open 3, ending the season, and destroying championship dreams.
After that season, all hope was lost, there were many years of heartbreak to follow, it was almost a decade later, when hope returned.
2004 - 2005, Steve Nash, returned to Phoenix, and joined rookie of the year Amare Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion, and the Suns, once again, went 62-20. The best record in the NBA. It was then that Championship dreams returned. Sadly, injuries plagued the Suns in the Playoffs, and after making it to the Western Conference Finals, the Suns lost to the Spurs.
I was destroyed. But, was happy to see that the team would return the following season, with all players together to just get stronger.
2005 - 2006, The year of the Championship? Could have been. Before the season even started, Amare Stoudemire underwent surgery to his knee, and missed all but three games that season. Without the star forward, the Suns entered the Playoffs and fell 3-1 against the Lakers. But, a miracle happened. Two miracles, their names? Raja Bell and Tim Thomas. Brought the Suns back, and the Suns eliminated the lakers, 4-3. The Suns then went on, and made it to the Conference Finals once again, only to lose to the Mavericks, and once again, be haunted my injuries. The season was over, just shy of a NBA Finals appearance once again.
2006 - 2007, The Suns were the favorites to win the NBA Title this season. Back and stronger than ever with Amare in full force, the Suns were back. And headed for glory... That is until the biggest incident in NBA Playoff history. The San Antonio Screw Job. With seconds left in a Suns victory, Robert Horry checked Steve Nash into the scorers table, they got into each others faces, and Amare and Boris left the bench area to help calm the fight down. But in return, Amare and Boris were suspended the following game for leaving the bench area. How is that a screw job you ask? Tim Duncan also left the bench area. And with that simple suspension over nothing, the Suns lost, and this time, just shy of the Western Finals, they were elminated by the Spurs, in the Semi Finals.
That summer. Summer of 2007. Steve Kerr took over as General Manager of the Phoenix Suns.
And during that season, the biggest trade of all time happened. Took me back to the day I heard Barkley was on the way. The Suns had traded the player I hated the most, Marion, to Miami, for SHAQ. Shaq was brought in for the soul purpose of kicking the crap out of the Spurs, and finally catching the NBA Title. Shaq was in the stands before his debut, stood up, and pointed to his finger. The crowd went crazy. Critics got all over Shaq for being too old, he said it was making him upset, and when he gets upset, hes known to do things, like win championships.... Hey wait a minute, take a look at that picture, what finger is he pointing at?
The Suns were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. By the Spurs. 4-1.
Confusion struck, no one knew what to do. My heart hurt. I thought for sure the Suns would finally destroy the Spurs in the playoffs. And yet, nothing.
Shaq laid down some mighty bold words, saying that the next season, the Suns would not be elminated in the first round. He promised, garaunteed it.
And in a way, he was right, the Suns won't be eliminated from the first round, because, there is no first round. The Suns went from Conference Finals appearances, to Semi Finals, to First Round, to not even making the Playoffs. This is the first time in 16 years, that Shaq will not make the playoffs. So what was the main problem besides Shaqs LIES?
All was well, Steve Kerr came along, and suddenly, things went to crap. Complete crap. The Shaq trade was a bad idea now that everyone thinks about it. And the trade earlier this season, sending away Raja Bell and Boris Diaw, was even worse. Not bringing back the coach that brought the Suns from no playoffs to conference finals and bringing in a coach that destroyed it all. Steve Kerr has single handedly dismantled and destroyed the Phoenix Suns.
This summer, Nash, and Shaq, will probably be traded. And the Suns will be back to having to rebuild, and waiting possibly another decade, before they are back on top.
R.I.P. Run and Gun Phoenix Suns.