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Plea to Mat Ishbia, on behalf of Phoenix Suns fans and Valley residents

Billionaire Mat Ishbia has agreed to buy the Phoenix Suns, one of the most storied, but ringless, franchises in league history

Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Hello Mat!

You don’t know us yet (or maybe you do?). We are the Phoenix Suns fan base. And I’m the captain of this little ship called The Bright Side. Dating back to the Walter Davis/Larry Nance era, I’ve personally been a fan of this team for over 40 years and never gotten the chance to see my favorite team win a championship. Neither have any of my Suns fan friends.

You got to win a championship in college at Michigan State, so you know the feeling we desire. You love your alma mater, to the point that you’re throwing money at them left and right.

Now you’re throwing your money at the Phoenix Suns and we are thoroughly excited but also a little skeptical because human beings are protective of the things they love.

I love my favorite team, to the point I’m throwing not only my money but also nearly all my free time at them. I love this team so much I wake up each morning wanting to consume every bit of Suns news I could. At one point about 12 years ago, I was so frustrated with ‘my’ storylines not being written I decided to write them myself, and I’ve been blogging about this team ever since. When blogging wasn’t enough, I became a credentialed media member to interview players and staff and cover games. When all that wasn’t enough, I added weekly podcasting. All this while holding down a regular job and raising a family.

About six years ago, I decided we should start giving back to the community.

Our Suns fanbase on Bright Side and the Solar Panel has grown to more than 100,000 unique individuals a month. We are a hard-core Suns fan community, but also a community of real people, with real lives and real emotions. We’re human beings, after all. We know there’s ALWAYS someone more needy than we are.

So I started working with the Suns to create an annual event called Bright Side Night. Over the past six years, we’ve raised more than $100,000 in donations to send more than 12,000 deserving Valley residents — kids, first responders, health care workers — to their first Suns game. Our small community of donors have contributed more than half that 100k.

I know that $100k doesn’t seem like much to you, Mat, but it’s a ton of money when you consider we are just regular people, having to decide whether we can even afford to donate $15+ to this campaign versus putting food on the table.

You could do a LOT of good, Mat, by donating too. That’s a gesture of goodwill to a lot of dedicated Suns fans you’re hoping to win over. We want to send at least 5,000 deserving kids to the Suns-Raptors game on January 30, but we have a LOOONNG way to go. The tally so far is only at 600. Two years ago, pre-pandemic, we set that 4,400 mark. I’d love to top it this year, but I’ll need a lot of help.

All the details are here:

We’ll convert every single dollar into tickets for underprivileged kids in the Valley. Every. single. dollar.

I’m not only asking Mat to donate to the cause. I’m asking YOU, the reader of this letter, too. Donate now. Please. These kids deserve something awesome to smile about, and going to an NBA game is something they will remember for the rest of their lives. All it costs you is $15.

Okay, enough about me and this Bright Side community.

Let’s talk about the team you’re about to acquire, the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns are now in their 54th season of existence. They’ve got the 5th best regular season winning percentage in league history, but have never won the NBA title. This season looks like more of the same. They’ll have one of the best regular season records but a very small chance of actually winning the whole thing.

WE NEED YOU. We need you to empower General Manager James Jones to be aggressive in adding talent to this team before the trade deadline. He’s got a lot of tradable assets — expiring deals, young talent under long-term contract, all their future draft picks — to make a big upgrade before the February 9th trading deadline.

No one is running away with the league this year. Not one team is a foregone inevitable conclusion as eventual champion. Next summer, when we look back on the 2023 Playoffs, we’ll say that the team who won it all was the one that made the most of a wide open opportunity by the trade deadline this year.

It’s imperative that your team squeezes every last ounce out of this season. Chris Paul isn’t an All-Star anymore, but he can be a great cog as the team’s 3rd or 4th best player. He just can’t be the 2nd best anymore. Get the Suns a new 2nd best player and they could really win it all.

And then this summer, re-evaluate. Be aggressive again. You’ve got the tools — players, picks — to get even better next year.

Be like Ballmer. Be like Lacob. Spend what it takes to put the best possible team on the floor every year.

The Phoenix Suns need to hang a championship banner sooner than later, and you’re the guy who can make that happen.

So here’s your marching orders:

  1. Donate to Bright Side Night —
  2. Get that league approval to buy the team, and finalize the deal BEFORE the trade deadline on February 9
  3. Immediately tell James Jones to be aggressive in the trade market to upgrade the team
  4. Then next summer, get aggressive again. And if the season doesn’t end the way you want it to, make whatever changes you need to make... but ONLY if it makes the Suns better.

We’re counting on you and your minority-owner brother, Mat Ishbia.

Please come through for us.


Dave King

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