Welcome to the Phoenix Suns’ Media Day 2017 where the day’s events set the tone for a sunnier season with the Phoenix Suns! This being my first time experiencing a REAL LIVE media day adventure, I had little-to-no idea what kind of energy to expect or what, exactly, to do with myself.
Sooooooooo... I spent most of the time trotting loyally after my fellow Bright Side team members trying not to trip over camera cords and randomly — I mean, strategically — placed light poles as my head spun around in eighty different directions with my mouth hanging open.
Actually hanging OPEN. And not slightly, either. All of those guys are larger than life! I grew up in a tall family... but, wow! Do you want to know what else is larger than life?
Their attitudes. The Phoenix Suns’ players literally lit up; the room, each other, the audience... Everyone was smiling. I didn’t see one grumpy player. Not one.
Like Devin Booker hiding — or as close as anyone who is 6’6" can come to hiding — in the audience next to the Bright Side team, playfully calling out questions for Marquese Chriss.
Or Eric Bledsoe and Marquese Chriss joking around.
That is impressive. Laughter, lighthearted jokes, handshakes, and manners that would have made my grandmother grin with pride twinkled like Mozart in an otherwise normally loud and "echoey" gymnasium.
But, what made the Phoenix Suns so positive? Should we shrug it off as nothing more than false press face, or forced smiles? I don’t think so.
I think their secret ingredient is full of much more magical festiveness than that!
Before I get too excited, I should confess that I have one very strong contributing aspect from my professional background that impacts my opinions and perspective: I am a former professional competitive dancer. I’ve been trained how to perform and work with a team to move in unison.
In my experience as a professional performer I have learned that the impact you have on your audience is only as good as the strength of your presence. Meaning, you better bring it, or you lose. And when you are part of a team, each piece of that team is valuable. Each piece of that team is a part of you. (If this article had a soundtrack, I feel like now would be the moment to sing "The Circle of Life.")
Evidently, the Suns have found that the brightest approach toward success is to look straight into the sun and focus on the best strengths they have, and then make them better.
Evidence of this was popping up all day as the discussion kept turning back to the support and power of the team. Devin Booker talked about doing things the "right way" to be a true professional and demonstrate how to be a good leader by taking actions like passing the ball to anticipate an opportunity for a better shot. Jared Dudley proudly declared one of the team’s biggest strengths to be in their youth as the older teams tire out later in the season. Eric Bledsoe shared his perspective for how motivational reading has reinforced the value of sharing and support while Tyler Ulis talked about the importance of balancing health so he can continue pushing limits to keep up with his teammates. Josh Jackson credited some of these intrinsic core values to be instilled from childhood memories of playing chess with his dad. The team continually expressed how their unity as players overlapped with their unity as friends, on and off the court.
PERSPECTIVE seems to be their not-so-secret weapon. AND the Phoenix Suns seem to be spinning their perspective in every positive direction and confidently brandishing it in the face of all the upcoming challenges the 2017 season has to offer.