For a nearly a decade now, the Dan Majerle Hustle Award has been the only year-end award given to a Phoenix Suns player. That might change this year with Coach of the Year, All-NBA and All-Defense awards yet to be announced.
The Hustle Award was conceived by the organization to exemplify what a great teammate looks like — one who hustles on every play of every game, and in a more memorable way than anyone else. Dan Majerle spent most of his career (1988-1995) with the Suns as part of one of the greatest Suns teams ever, making three All-Star teams along the way, but his greatest mark came as a difference-maker on effort whether he was filling up the box score or not.
This year, Mikal Bridges was named the 2021 Dan Majerle Hustle Award winner.
A two-time recipient of the Majerle Hustle Award after winning as a rookie in 2019, Bridges joins P.J. Tucker and Grant Hill as the only Suns to win the award multiple times. In his third NBA season in 2020-21, Bridges recorded career highs in points per game, rebounds per game, blocks per game and field goal and three-point shooting percentages. He became just the fourth qualified player ever to shoot at least 54% from the field and 42% from behind the arc, and did so while playing outstanding defense and displaying the hustle that earned him this recognition.
Bridges was selected based on the results of the following voting categories: Suns fans, Suns players, Suns employees and Majerle himself with each voting group carrying equal weight in the final selection.
Dan Majerle popped on the Zoom call with media today to announce Bridges as the winner. He was given the first ‘question’ once Bridges sat down and joined the call. Majerle jumped right in to announce the award to Bridges.
“Just the way he plays night in and night out,” Majerle said of Bridges. “His offensive ability, his shooting, his defense, his overall hustle and unselfishness embodies the way that I liked to play in my whole 14 year career.”
“Ah man, I appreciate it,” Bridges responded. “It’s a big honor to win it again. I appreciate the love and just being rewarded for playing hard.”
Bridges told media there were a few players deserving this year, mentioning Jevon Carter (last year’s winner) and Cam Payne by name.
Before Majerle turned it over to the rest of the media, he added a comment directed right to Bridges.
“On a personal note,” Majerle added. “I’d just like to wish you and the Suns the best of luck starting tomorrow in this playoff run. We’re all excited to see what happens and we’re all behind you.”