Phoenix Suns

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Posted by motoman 04/20/2009 @ 14:09

Tags : phoenix suns, western conference teams, nba teams, nba, basketball, sports

News headlines
History isn't on Magic's side - CharlotteObserver.com
AP Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash listens to questions about the trade that will bring Shaquille O'Neal to the Suns in Phoenix, Arizona, Wednesday, February 6, 2008. (Ralph Freso/East Valley Tribune/MCT) 6/4/09 Former Davidson College player Stephen...
Phoenix Suns: Back to The Drawing Board - Bleacher Report
I can also almost assure you that Phoenix will not get what they want out of this deal. At this point, I hope the trade involves Amare because he is the only player that we can still get value out of. He still won't get the deal that we Suns' fans want...
Phoenix Suns to play 76ers in Mexico - Bizjournals.com
The Phoenix Suns are scheduled to play a preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers Oct. 18 in Monterrey, Mexico. According to an announcement on the NBA's Web site, NBA.com, this marks the league's second visit to Monterrey and the league's 18th...
Phoenix Suns: Ten Possible Choices for the No. 14 Pick - Bleacher Report
With all the online rumors flying around about trades and who will be on the Suns' roster next year, I thought it might be time to look at something we know will happen. The Phoenix Suns are drafting 14th and they have needs....
Arizona Cardinals close in on Phoenix Suns, Diamondbacks, Coyotes ... - Bizjournals.com
The surveys, conducted in late May for Balsillie by Hotspex Inc., show the Cardinals gaining favor in a Phoenix sports market traditionally dominated by the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks. One survey looked at the overall appeal among fans for...
Photo: Suns.com - Fanster.com
As Steve Kerr recently celebrated his second anniversary as General Manager of the Phoenix Suns, I felt it was time to grade his overall job performance. I have decided to grade each move made by the Suns since Kerr has taken over on an academic scale....
NBA Sunday: Amar'e Unwanted? - HoopsWorld
"I'm not sure," said Stoudemire when asked if the Suns want to keep him by KTAR in Phoenix. "That's what we're going to talk about here soon hopefully, what the next step is and what the ultimate goal is for the Phoenix Suns as a basketball team....
Phoenix Suns: Amare, Nash, Shaq And The Draft - Bleacher Report
Well, obviously that is easier said then done, so let's breakdown each trade and what the 2009-2010 roster for the Phoenix Suns would look like. Nash has been not only a great player for the Suns, but a great ambassador. But he is on a slow decline and...
Learn Mike D'Antoni's Style Of Offense - Bleacher Report
This offensive playbook consists of the secondary break, quick hitters, and half-court sets that have been developed by the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks. It has a tremendous wealth of knowledge on how they would play the Run and Gun style that has...
Suns and Celtics: Let's Make a Deal - Bleacher Report
by Seth Cox (Contributor) According to Arizona sports radio host John Gambadoro, the Boston Celtics have made an offer to the Phoenix Suns for Amar'e Stoudemire. The offer, according to Gambadoro, would be Amar'e Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa,...

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns logo

The Phoenix Suns are a professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Their home arena is the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix.

The Suns have been generally successful since they began play as an expansion team in 1968. In forty-one years of play, they have posted seventeen fifty-win seasons, and made eight trips to the Western Conference Finals, advancing to the NBA Finals in 1976 and 1993. Despite their successes they have yet to win an NBA title. Currently, the team's starting lineup consists of Grant Hill, Shaquille O'Neal, Matt Barnes, Jason Richardson, and Steve Nash.

The Suns were one of two franchises to join the NBA at the start of the 1968-69 season, alongside the Milwaukee Bucks. They were the first major professional sports franchise in the state of Arizona, and would be the only one for 20 years until the Cardinals of the National Football League relocated from St. Louis in 1988. The team played its first 24 seasons at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, located west of downtown Phoenix. The franchise was formed by an ownership group led by local businessmen Karl Eller, Don Pitt, Don Diamond, and Richard Bloch, and also part of the group was entertainer Andy Williams. There were many critics, including then-NBA commissioner J. Walter Kennedy, who said that Phoenix was “too hot”, “too small”, and “too far away” to be considered a successful NBA market. This was despite the fact that the Phoenix metropolitan area was (and still is) rapidly growing and the Suns would have built-in geographical foes in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

After continual prodding by Bloch, the NBA Board of Governors finally decided that on January 22, 1968, Phoenix and Milwaukee were granted franchises in their respective cities. They paid an entry fee of $2 million to enter the league. The Suns nickname was among 28,000 entries that were formally chosen in a “Name the Team” contest sponsored by the Arizona Republic; the winner was awarded $1,000 and season tickets to the inaugural season. Stan Fabe, who owned a commercial printing plant in Tucson, designed the team’s first iconic logo for a mere $200; this was after the team paid $5,000 to a local artist to design the team’s logo, but to disappointing results.

Jerry Colangelo, a then-player scout, came over from the Chicago Bulls (a franchise formed two years earlier) as the Suns' first general manager at the age of 28, along with Johnny "Red" Kerr as head coach. Unlike the first-year success that Colangelo and Kerr had in Chicago, in which the Bulls finished with a first-year expansion record of 33 wins and a playoff berth (plus a Coach of the Year award for Kerr), Phoenix finished its first year at 16-66, and finished 25 games out of the final playoff spot.

The Suns’ last-place finish that season led to a coin flip for the number-one overall pick for the 1969 NBA Draft with the expansion-mate Bucks. Milwaukee won the flip, and the rights to draft UCLA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor), while Phoenix settled on drafting center Neal Walk from the University of Florida. While the Bucks went on to win the NBA Finals in 1971 and reaching the Finals again in 1974 (losing to the Boston Celtics), the Suns would not go to the Finals themselves until 1976. The 1969-70 season posted better results for the Suns, finishing 39-43, but losing to the eventual Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. The next two seasons (1970-71 and 1971-72), the Suns finished with 48 and 49-win seasons, however they did not qualify for the playoffs in either year, and would not reach the playoffs again until 1976.

The 1975-76 season proved to be a pivotal year for the Suns, as they made several key moves, including the offseason trade of guard Charlie Scott to the Boston Celtics, in exchange for guard Paul Westphal, a key member of Boston's 1974 championship team. The team also drafted center and eventual fan favorite Alvan Adams from the University of Oklahoma and guard Ricky Sobers of UNLV. The Suns and Buffalo Braves made an midseason trade, with Phoenix sending forward/center John Shumate to Buffalo in exchange for forward Garfield Heard.

Phoenix had an "up-and-down" regular season, starting out at 14-9 (then the best start in team history), then going 4-18 during a stretch of which the team went through injuries (including "Original Sun" Dick Van Arsdale breaking his right arm in a February game), but the Suns caught fire of sorts, going 24-13 in their final 37 games to finish 42-40 overall, clinching their first playoff spot since 1970. The Suns faced and beat the Supersonics in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, four games to two, and beat the defending NBA champion Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, four games to three, to advance to their first-ever Finals.

The Suns faced a battle-tested Boston Celtics team, led by eventual Hall of Famers Dave Cowens and John Havlicek. The crucial Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals took place at Boston Garden, where the Suns came back from 20-point first-half deficit to force a first overtime. Havlicek made what was supposed to be a game-winning basket, but due to fans rushing the floor beford time officially expired, officials put one second back on the clock with Phoenix having possession of the ball. The Suns' Westphal called a timeout to advance the ball to half-court, but assessed a technical foul, in which Celtics guard Jo Jo White made the technical free throw to take a 112-110 lead for the Celtics. Once the Suns had possession, Heard made a buzzer-beating jumparound jump shot to force a second overtime. However, the Suns' hard-fought battle would be short-lived, as Boston's little-used reserve player Glenn McDonald scored six of his eight points in the third overtime to lead the Celtics to a 128-126 win. Boston eventually won the series in six games, clinching the championship at the Coliseum, defeating Phoenix in game six, 87-80.

In the late '70s and early '80s, the Suns enjoyed several successful seasons, making the playoffs for 8 seasons in a row. Problems arose however, on and off court, in the mid '80s. In 1987 the Maricopa County Attorney's Office indicted 13 people on drug-related charges, three of whom were active Suns players (James Edwards, Jay Humphries and Grant Gondrezick). These indictments were partially based on testimony from star player Walter Davis, who was given immunity. No defendants ever went to trial: two of the players went into a prosecution diversion program, while another received probation. Nevertheless, the scandal, although now perceived in many respects to be a witchhunt, tarnished the reputation of the franchise both nationally and within the community. The scandal did provide an opening for general manager Jerry Colangelo to lead a group that bought the team from its owners for $44 million, a record at that time.

With a drug scandal and the loss of promising young center Nick Vanos, who was killed in the crash of Northwest Airlines Flight 255 after taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the franchise was in turmoil on and off the court. The Suns' luck began to turn around in 1987, however, with the acquisition from the Cleveland Cavaliers of Kevin Johnson, Mark West, and Tyrone Corbin for popular power forward Larry Nance. In 1988, Tom Chambers came over from the Seattle SuperSonics as the first unrestricted free agent in NBA history, Jeff Hornacek a 1986 second round pick continued to develop, "Thunder" Dan Majerle was drafted with the 14th pick in the draft, which they obtained from Cleveland in the Kevin Johnson trade, and the team began a 13-year playoff streak. Kurt Rambis was added from the Charlotte Hornets in 1989, and the team (coached by Fitzsimmons), in a shocking upset, beat the Los Angeles Lakers in 5 games that season before falling to the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. In 1991, The Suns stormed to a 55-27 record, however they lost in the first round to the Utah Jazz 3-1. In 1992, the Suns cruised to a 53-29 record during the regular season. While having sent four players to the all-star game in the last two years (Chambers, Johnson, Hornacek and Majerle), the Suns were poised to make a serious run at the NBA Finals. They showed their poise by sweeping the San Antonio Spurs in 3 games in the first round of the 1992 NBA Playoffs. But once again the Suns fell in five games to the Trail Blazers in the conference semifinals, however the series was punctuated by an electrifying game 4, in which the Suns lost in double overtime 153-151 (the highest scoring game in NBA Playoff history to date). That game would end up being the last game ever played at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Suns were yet again denied a shot at a title, but in subsequent seasons enjoyed even greater success than ever before.

In 1992, the Suns moved into their new arena in downtown Phoenix, the America West Arena (now US Airways Center). The arena was not the only new arrival into Phoenix though, as flamboyant all-star power forward Charles Barkley was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang, and Tim Perry. Barkley would go on to win his first and only MVP his first year with Phoenix in 1993.

In addition to Barkley, the Suns added some key players to their roster including former Boston Celtic Danny Ainge and drafted players in University of Arkansas center Oliver Miller and forward Richard Dumas (who was actually drafted in 1991 but was suspended for his rookie year for violating the NBA drug policy).

Under rookie head coach Paul Westphal (a former Suns assistant and, as a player, member of the 1976 Suns squad that went to the NBA Finals), the Suns squad consisting mostly of Barkley, Majerle, Johnson and Ainge won 62 games that year. In the first round of the playoffs, they defeated the eighth-seeded Lakers, coming back from an 0-2 deficit in the five game series. The Suns went on to eliminate the Spurs and Sonics, advancing to the Finals for the second time in franchise history. They eventually lost to the Bulls, led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. This series included a triple-overtime game (Game 3) that along with game 4 of the 1976 series are the only triple overtime games in the history of the NBA finals. Approximately 300,000 fans braved the 105 degree heat to celebrate the memorable season in the streets of Phoenix.

The Suns continued to be successful in the regular season, going 178-68 during the 1992-93, 1993-94, and 1994-95 seasons. They continued to bolster their roster adding players such as A. C. Green, Danny Manning, Wesley Person, Wayman Tisdale, and Elliot Perry. Despite a Pacific Division title in 1995, the Suns ended up being eliminated in consecutive Western Conference Semifinal rounds by the Houston Rockets.One of the big reasons the Suns lost to Houston in 1995 was the fact that Danny Manning injured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament right before the All-Star Break. In both years the Suns led the series by two games at one point (2-0 in 1994, 3-1 in 1995) only to see the Rockets come back to win each series in seven games.

At the end of the 1994–95 season, Phoenix Suns general manager, Bryan Colangelo (son of Jerry) initiated what proved to be a very costly trade, sending all star guard/forward Dan Majerle and a first round draft pick, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for John "Hot Rod" Williams. Majerle was a favorite amongst the fans in Phoenix as well as the Suns locker room. The trade was made to address the Suns' desperate need of a shot blocking center, but proved frustrating as Majerle's presence was sorely missed, and Williams's production never met expectations.

In the 1996 NBA Draft, the Suns used their 15th pick for guard Steve Nash, of Santa Clara University. Upon hearing the draft announcement, Suns fans booed in disapproval of the relatively unknown player, due to the fact that he had not played in one of the major college conferences. During his first two seasons in the NBA, he played a supporting role behind NBA star point guards Jason Kidd and Kevin Johnson. On June 25, 1998, Nash was traded from the Suns to the Mavericks in exchange for Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells, the draft rights to Pat Garrity, and a first-round draft pick which was later used to select Shawn Marion.

After the Barkley trade, the Suns began the 1996–97 season miserably, starting 0–13 which was a franchise record for the worst start. During the 13-game losing streak Fitzsimmons stepped down as coach and was replaced by former player Danny Ainge.

After an on-the-court altercation between Ainge and Horry, Horry was traded to the Lakers for former Sun and NBA all-star Cedric Ceballos. Cassell was later traded to Dallas for all-star guard Jason Kidd. With a mostly small lineup, the Suns put together an 11-game win streak that put them in the playoffs, in a series that almost upset the highly favored Sonics.

In the off-season prior to the 2000 NBA season the Suns traded for perennial All-Star Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway stirring a large amount of hype by creating the tandem of Kidd and Hardaway, which was called "Backcourt 2000". However, the combination of Hardaway and Kidd was never fully realized as Hardaway would miss a number of games during the middle of the 1999–2000 season and Kidd would break his ankle going into the playoffs just as Hardaway began his return to the court. As the Suns, now led by the returned Hardaway, entered the 2000 playoffs, they shocked the favored San Antonio Spurs by ousting them from the playoffs 3–1 in the best-of-five series. However the Suns did not exactly surprise the Spurs because the Spurs were without their best player Tim Duncan throughout the whole series. However, even with the return of Kidd at Hardaway's side in the next round, the Suns fell to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in a 4–1 series.

The Suns continued to make the playoffs until the 2001–02 campaign, when they fell short for the first time in 14 years. That season marked the trade of Jason Kidd, partly due to a publicized domestic violence episode, to the New Jersey Nets for Stephon Marbury. Lottery-bound, however, the Suns were able to draft Amar'e Stoudemire.

The 2002–03 campaign saw the emergence of Stoudemire, a graduate from Cypress Creek High School (Orlando, Florida). He became the first ever high school player to win the NBA Rookie of the Year in the 2002–03 season, during which the Suns posted a record of 44–38 and returned to the playoffs. Marbury had a stellar individual season, making the All-NBA Third Team and being selected as a reserve for the 2003 NBA All-Star Game while averaging 22.3 ppg and 8.1 apg. The Suns were eliminated in the first round once again by the San Antonio Spurs, but only after a six-game series with the eventual NBA champions.

In the 2003–04 season, the Suns found themselves out of the playoffs. The Suns made a blockbuster mid-season trade sending Marbury and Hardaway to the New York Knicks.

The beginning of 2004 saw the departure of the face of Suns management since the team's inception, when Jerry Colangelo announced that the Phoenix Suns were to be sold to an investment group headed by San Diego-based business executive (and Tucson native) Robert Sarver for $401 million. However, the 2004-05 season marked the Suns' return to the NBA's elite, with the Suns finishing with the best record in the NBA at 62–20, tying their franchise record that was set by the 1992–93 team. This feat was made possible by the off-season unrestricted FA signing of All-Star point guard Steve Nash from Dallas. Nash would go on to win the MVP award that season. Amar'e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion were named All-Stars that year and first year coach, Mike D'Antoni, was named NBA Coach of the Year.

In the 2005 NBA Playoffs, Phoenix was the first seed in the Western Conference, and because it owned the NBA's best record, it was guaranteed home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Suns swept the Memphis Grizzlies 4-0 and defeated the fourth-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the second round 4-2, Nash forcing Game 6 into OT with a 3-pointer in the dying seconds. In the Western Conference Finals, the Suns played the San Antonio Spurs who won the series 4-1, ending Phoenix's outstanding season, partly due to Joe Johnson missing the first two games of the series. Joe Johnson went on to start the remaining games where he averaged 40 minutes per game and 18.3 PPG. The Suns lost the first 2 at home, as well as the following game in San Antonio to fall behind 3-0 in the series, escaping with a win in Game 4 at San Antonio 111-106. The team then lost Game 5 at home 101-95 to be eliminated from the playoffs. Stoudemire averaged a staggering 37.0 ppg, the highest ever by a player in their first Conference Finals.

The 2005-06 NBA season began with Stoudemire undergoing microfracture surgery in his knee on October 18, 2005. He missed all but three games that year. Along with that, promising shooting guard Joe Johnson demanded a trade to the Atlanta Hawks, in which the Suns got Boris Diaw along with two future first round picks. Other acquisitions this year included Raja Bell and Kurt Thomas. Despite the turnover in players, the Suns were once again able to win the Pacific going 54-28 and capturing the second seed in the Western Conference. Nash was awarded his second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Award, becoming the second point-guard (Magic Johnson was the first) to win the award in consecutive seasons times. Also, Diaw was named NBA Most Improved Player.

The Suns began the 2006 Western Conference Playoffs as favorites against the Los Angeles Lakers. After winning Game 1 in Phoenix, they found themselves trailing in the series 3-1 after impressive performances by Laker shooting guard Kobe Bryant. However, the Suns went on to win three straight games. They won Game 5 easily at home. With 7:33 left in the game, Suns guard Raja Bell grabbed Kobe Bryant around the neck and threw him down as the Lakers star drove to the basket. Bell earned a technical foul, his second of the game, and an automatic ejection. The Suns took game 6 in OT, their first OT win all season despite 50 points from Bryant and Bell out serving a one-game suspension (for a flagrant foul against Bryant in Game 5) with last second help from mid-season acquisition Tim Thomas. On their home court, the Suns won Game 7 121-90, eliminating the Lakers for the first time since 1993. The Suns became only the eighth team in NBA history to win a playoff series after being behind 3-1.

In the second round, the Suns faced the Los Angeles Clippers. The series was played closely, with both teams trading games on each others' courts. The series was 2-2 and The Suns faced a huge deficit in Game 5 but fought back and won in double OT and after a Game 6 loss finally won the series in the decisive seventh game on their home court at US Airways Center, winning by a margin of 20 with an NBA record 15 3-point FG's May 22, 2006.

They went on to play the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. Underdogs this time, The Suns took Game 1 in Dallas by a single point and their May 30 victory in Game 4 marked the most wins thus far for the franchise in a Conference Finals series since the 1993 season. Many credit this success (despite losing Stoudemire) to the emergence of Diaw, Bell (out for two games of the series due to injury), and Barbosa as clutch playoff performers; and an overall team depth they did not possess at all last season. The Suns fought hard in Games 5 and 6 but clearly were no match as they were blown out by a combined 25 points and eliminated from the series on June 3, 2006 in Game 6. It was yet another disappointing end for the Suns.

In the 2006 off-season, the Suns signed Minnesota Timberwolves PG Marcus Banks to a five-year contract worth $21.3 million. Also, the Suns signed G Leandro Barbosa to a five-year contract extension beginning in the 2007-08 season worth approximately $33 million. Diaw was also extended to a five year deal worth approximately $45 million.

The Phoenix Suns finished second in the Western Conference. They defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, but lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Semi-Finals.

On June 6, former TNT analyst and NBA three-point specialist, Steve Kerr, was appointed Suns' General Manager and President of Basketball Operations. Kerr is also a part of the Sarver-led investment group that purchased the franchise from Jerry Colangelo.

On June 28, 2007, Spanish SG Rudy Fernández was taken 24th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Suns, who subsequently traded the rights to the pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for cash. SF Alando Tucker of Wisconsin was taken with the 29th pick.

On July 11, 2007, the Suns signed former Orlando Magic SF Grant Hill on a 1-year $1.8 million deal with a player option for a second season at $2 million.

On July 20, 2007, the Suns traded power forward/center Kurt Thomas and two future first-round picks (2008 and 2010) to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for a trade exception of $8 million and a conditional second-round pick.

On February 6, 2008, the Suns traded four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion, along with Marcus Banks, to the Miami Heat for Shaquille O'Neal.

On March 4, 2008, the Suns signed guard Gordan Giricek.

On May 11, 2008, after the Suns lost to the San Antonio Spurs 4-1 in the first round of the 2008 Western Conference Playoffs, Suns Head Coach Mike D'Antoni signed with the New York Knicks, replacing ousted Head Coach Isiah Thomas, who went 56-108 in two seasons with the Knicks.

On June 9, 2008, Terry Porter was named Head Coach of the Phoenix Suns, succeeding Mike D'Antoni. Porter was an Assistant Coach of the Detroit Pistons when he was let go after the Pistons were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

During the offseason, the Suns had difficulties signing free agents because of being over the luxury tax. They made attempts to sign a back up point guard, Tyronn Lue, however, he decided to sign with the Bucks for more money. The Suns selected Robin Lopez (15th overall pick out of Stanford University) in the 2008 NBA Draft and acquired Goran Dragic, who was originally picked by the rival San Antonio Spurs.

On December 10, the Suns traded Boris Diaw and Raja Bell to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for high-scoring swingman, Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and a second-round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

On February 18, Alvin Gentry began his head coaching tenure with a 140-100 blowout over the Clippers at home on Tuesday. Six Suns players scored in double digits, led by Leandro Barbosa's 24 points. The Suns led as much as 50 points during the game and were without their explosive swingman Jason Richardson who was serving a one game suspension. However, this offense cost them their defense, allowing over 107 points per game, 27th in the league. At the end of the season the Suns missed the playoffs with a 46-36 record, which is normally a winning record. The offseason brings uncertainty for the Suns, with the possibility of rebuilding the base of the team.

For the 2000-01 season, the Phoenix Suns introduced three new logos. Two of these were merely updates to existing logos, modernizing the themes and adding the gray color. The logo pictured here incorporates the mythical phoenix bird into the existing Suns' theme. It illustrates the team's hometown by picturing the bird it was named after rising out a ball with an abbreviation for Phoenix. Of the team's three logos, this is the one that adorns the hardwood at center court. There is a media dispute over the usage of the logo, as many TV networks use the new one (right), but many video games and websites still use a secondary logo that had been the team's main logo of the 1990s.

On October 20, 2003, uniform was introduced that was to be used at a minimum, five games a year. This uniform is used both at home and on the road and always used in games on the road and in the playoffs. It is the only uniform in the NBA that has an abbreviated version of the city name, Phoenix, across the front chest. For the 2006–2007 season the Suns removed the uniform number from the side of the shorts, replacing it with the same sun logo that is found on the other side.

For the first eleven seasons of their existence in the NBA, the Suns had no official mascot. An early attempt was made involving a sunflower costume, but it never caught on. In the winter of 1980, a singing telegram named Henry Rojas from Eastern Onion Telegram service was sent to the arena in a gorilla costume. Security saw him and suggested to him to stay for a while to entertain the fans during the breaks. He kept coming to games until officially invited to be the Suns' mascot.

Since then, the gorilla, named Go, has been known for his slapstick humor during the games such as his routine push-ups and stadium stairs all to the sound of the Rocky Theme, and the fantastic dunks that are performed before each 4th quarter. Also, one of his more beloved skits was at a Knicks home game where he came out to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” wearing a hat, with several pieces of garbage stuck to his leg. Halfway through the song, a group of “muggers” attacked him, and he staggered off the court afterwards. The gorilla was honored in 2005 when he was selected to be one of three inaugural members of the Mascots Hall of Fame. According to the Suns' website, the Gorilla graduated from "Hairy Truman" High School in "Mon-key West, Florida", and "Fur-Man University" in 1980.

In 2002, an inflatable gorilla named Hairy was introduced as a new Suns mascot. Standing at 9'1", Hairy entertains the crowd during breaks by dancing with Hairyson who was introduced in 2004 and stands at about half the size.

The first play by play announcer for the Suns was Bob Vache of KTAR radio, who died in an automobile accident midway through the 1969-70 season. Vache was replaced by the Suns' color commentator, Rodney "Hot Rod" Hundley, who would later go on to be the longtime voice of the Utah Jazz.

Legendary broadcaster Al McCoy has covered the team ever since the 1971-72 season. McCoy has broadcast Suns games on radio for the 37th consecutive season on KTAR Phoenix (which has carried Suns games for 38 seasons) as of 2006-07. McCoy's unique, folksy style of calling the games, including his signature catchphrases such as "Shazam!" for a three-point shot, endeared him to thousands of Suns fans across Arizona, the Southwest, and nationwide. McCoy was honored in March 2007 by the Suns, who named their soon-to-be renovated media center at US Airways Center in his honor. McCoy was partnered for many years with legendary coach Cotton Fitzsimmons. In recent years, former NBA players Vinny Del Negro and Tim Kempton served as color commentators on the radio side, with Del Negro working most regular-season home games and all of the playoffs with McCoy (Del Negro later served as an executive in the Suns' front office and is currently the head coach of the Chicago Bulls).

Until 2003-2004, Al McCoy's radio broadcast was simulcast on most television broadcasts. Former NBA on CBS broadcaster Gary Bender has handled the cable Fox Sports Net (FSN-Arizona) telecasts since the early 1990s that were not simulcast. Beginning with the 2003-04 season, Tom Leander assumed the reins on over-the-air TV; the games air on MyNetworkTV affiliate KUTP. Former Suns star Dan Majerle, a member of the team's Ring-of-Honor, became a commentator on television broadcasts in 2004, splitting the color commentator duties with former Suns star Eddie Johnson before joining the Suns coaching staff in 2008.

The FSN Arizona broadcasts have been different from those of NBA teams on other affiliate networks, because the time-and-score graphic does not include an embedded shot clock. Instead, it has only been shown when the clock reaches eight seconds or less, is shown in large print, and is sponsored. Among the sponsors of the clock's appearances have been Henkel and the Arizona Department of Health Services (under the slogan "Inhale Life"). However, for the 2006-07 season, an embedded clock was added to the KUTP telecasts. On January 19, 2007, an embedded clock was part of the graphic during the FSN Arizona telecast of the team's victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, but the sponsored shot clock was still also on-screen when the time was expiring. It is unknown if the embedded clock was only a one-night change or will be a permanent feature of Suns broadcasts.

The 40th Anniversary Suns Team – selected by the vote of the fans through the Internet - was unveiled on January 3, 2008, when the Suns defeated the Seattle SuperSonics, 104-96, to celebrate the team's 40th season. The Suns' inaugural game in 1968 was against the Sonics.

In October 2008, the Phoenix Suns organization, along with partnered advertising agencies, were honored with 12 Emmy awards by the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The team won an award in the Advanced Media category for a video on Suns.com during the 2007 NBA Playoffs, Raja Bell Reunion with Teammates, produced by Steven J. Koek. An Emmy was also awarded in 2008 for PlanetOrange.net, the team's official online fan community. The site was produced by Suns VP of Interactive Services Jeramie McPeek and powered by technology from social media application developer KickApps. McPeek was also awarded for the writing and producing of the virtual locker room site, SunsLockerRoom.com along with Daniel Banks.

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2007–08 Phoenix Suns season

The 2007–08 Phoenix Suns season was their 40th season in the NBA.

Forward Shawn Marion was set to earn $36 million over the next two seasons, putting the Suns over the salary cap next season and fueling speculations that he, one of the key Suns, may be traded during the offseason.

PG Steve Nash will turn 34 years of age next year and there are concerns that health issues may catch up with him and limit his tremedous impact on the team and on the league. Fans on some blogs wanted the team to trade up from the 24th and 29th picks in the 2007 NBA Draft to potentially get a young point guard to be Nash's backup and possibly a future replacement. Several top prospects worked out with the Suns (as well as with other NBA teams) leading up to the draft, including Mustafa Shakur from the University of Arizona, PG Gabe Pruitt from USC, as well as Joakim Noah and Chris Richard from the 2007 NCAA Final Four championship team of the University of Florida (Noah and teammate Corey Brewer were in attendance at some of the Suns' playoff games).

Few changes in the core of the team—Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, Amar'e Stoudemire, Marion and Nash—are expected, but some changes may be made in the supporting cast around them, some of whom (Marcus Banks, Jumaine Jones, Pat Burke, Jalen Rose) either performed below expectations or were underutilized under D'Antoni's system. Fans on some blogs have been calling for the Suns to make a trade for that one impact player (Kobe Bryant one notable name being mentioned) who will get them over the top, similar to the 1992 trade that brought Charles Barkley to the team and brought the Suns within one three-point shot of Game 7 of the 1993 NBA Finals.

On June 6, former TNT analyst and NBA three-point specialist Steve Kerr was appointed Suns' General Manager and President of Basketball Operations. Kerr is close to team owner Robert Sarver and University of Arizona head men's basketball coach Lute Olson (Kerr's college coach); Kerr is also a part of the Sarver-led investment group that purchased the franchise from Jerry Colangelo.

On June 28, 2007, Spanish guard Rudy Fernández was taken 24th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Suns, who subsequently traded the rights to the pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for cash. SF Alando Tucker of Wisconsin was taken with the 29th pick.

On July 5, 2007, the Suns came to an agreement with former Orlando Magic SF Grant Hill on a one-year $1.8 million deal with a player option for a second season at $2 million. In August 2007, Hill and his wife, R&B vocalist Tamia, purchased a home worth $3.78 million in the exclusive upscale community of Paradise Valley, adjacent to Scottsdale and home to several prominent local residents, including many star players for the Suns, Diamondbacks and the other local sports franchises.

On July 20, Kurt Thomas was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics so that Phoenix could reduce payroll. Some believe that this move could lead to a big signing or trade coming up for Phoenix.

On August 27, Maryland guard D. J. Strawberry (son of former Major League Baseball star Darryl Strawberry) signed a two-year contract with the Suns that included a guaranteed first year and a team option for the second season. Strawberry was drafted with the 59th selection in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft; in the 2007 NBA Summer League he averaged a league-best 6.4 assists.

The Suns won at least 50 games for the fourth straight season and faced the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs for the third time in four years. Even with the presence of Shaquille O'Neal who was traded to the team just before the All-Star break for Shawn Marion, the Suns were yet again eliminated, this time in five games. Just days after the loss Steve Kerr allowed Mike D'Antoni to pursue coaching positions elsewhere and he was subsequently signed as the head coach of the New York Knicks less than two weeks later.

Phoenix's selections from the 2007 NBA Draft in New York, New York.

The Suns have been involved in the following transactions during the 2007-08 season.

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2008–09 Phoenix Suns season

The 2008–09 Phoenix Suns season will be the 41st season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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List of Phoenix Suns head coaches

Mike D'Antoni was the head coach of the Suns from 2004 to 2008.

The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Founded in 1968, the Suns are chronologically the second-oldest team in the Western Conference. The Suns are also chronologically the third-oldest team in the NBA to have never won a NBA Championship while having played in the NBA Finals at least once. The Suns play their home games at the US Airways Center.

The Phoenix Suns franchise have had 14 head coaches. John MacLeod is the franchise's all-time leader in coaching and winning the most regular-season and playoff games. Cotton Fitzsimmons and Mike D'Antoni are the only coaches to have won the NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Suns. The Suns have never been coached by a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Paul Westphal has the highest all-time winning percentage with the Suns with a .685 winning percentage. Alvin Gentry is currently the head coach after Terry Porter was dismissed by the Suns.

Note: Statistics are correct through February 16, 2009.

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1996–97 Phoenix Suns season

The 1996 NBA Draft was the 54th draft in the National Basketball Association. It was held on June 26, 1996 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It is widely considered to be one of the deepest and most talented NBA Drafts in history, with over one-third of the first round picks later becoming NBA All-Stars. The draft contained three players currently lauded as future Hall of Famers in Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Steve Nash. Other notable All-Stars include Marcus Camby, Ray Allen, Jermaine O'Neal, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Antoine Walker and Stephon Marbury.

Nash was selected 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft. Upon hearing the draft announcement, Suns fans booed in disapproval of the relatively unknown player. Despite his impressive college accomplishments, he had not played in one of the major college conferences. During his first two seasons in the NBA, Nash played a supporting role behind NBA star point guards Jason Kidd and Kevin Johnson, and later, Sam Cassell. In his rookie season, he only managed 10.5 minutes a game, but in his sophomore season, his playing time increased significantly and he was even ranked 13th in the league for three point field goal percentage. Nevertheless, the Canadian's tenure with the Suns was not to last.

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Source : Wikipedia