By: Suns fan, podcaster from the land of Oz, SirHammo
Growing up in a reasonably small town, two hours south of Sydney, Australia, there wasn’t a lot of Phoenix Suns fan merch available. You have heard it from guys like the hosts of the Aussie Suns Fans Podcast. Gavin (who is a Bright Side contributor), Boyd, and Nate. The choices for a team to support were simple: Bulls, Lakers or Celtics.
There were no REAL options for personal choice beyond those three at all. Every now and again you would see a piece of Spurs, Knicks or even the more rare Rockets memorabilia. Never Suns. I would search through all the NBA VHS tapes available at my local store. That’s when I seen it for the first time: the Sun-burst jersey.
“Hey Dad, who’s Charles Barkley?” an 8-year-old Hammo would ask. The world wasn’t the same after that. I had found my colours.
Through avenues like NBA Saturday Morning on TV (Hosted by the Legendary Bill Woods), SLAM Magazine, and even countless hours playing NBA Jam Session board game, I was getting hooked. It wasn’t enough… I wanted more.
Cutting out every Suns logo and picture from the magazines and sticking them up on the wall, trying to find every video game to play as my guy “Sir Charles”. Of course, having a younger brother willing to play as KJ didn’t hurt either.
The happiest moment came when my parents managed to get me a knock-off purple sun-burst jersey! It was numbered 34, and where it should’ve read BARKLEY on the back it read PHOENIX. I didn’t care. I was over the moon. I still actually have that same jersey to this day. Years gone by have faded the colours, but the memory of times spent wearing the purple and orange will always be met with warm feelings.
Still, it took decades before proper Suns merch would be available in Oz. Even today the only Suns jerseys you can find here are that of Devin Booker. I have even found it quicker and cheaper to order a “custom” jersey from NBAstore.com.au, in the name and number you wish.
However, things are looking up.
Dave King Note: It’s one thing to be a fan of a team no one around you cares about, but it’s so much better to be around people who share your team’s loyalty. While many Suns fans have roots in the Phoenix area, as you’d expect, BrightSideoftheSun.com and Suns-based podcasts have readers/listeners from more than 200 different countries. Thanks to fans like Hammo, Australia now sits comfortably #2 in the world behind the US!
The Phoenix Suns fans of Australia had spoken. Spoken loud enough to be heard. We now have access to things like NBA League Pass, better miscellaneous merchandise (still working on the jerseys), and people devoting their time,to bring us all the info you need to know.
Through social media and mediums like podcasting and blogging, the Aussie fans are closer to their team and players than ever before. Never thought it would happen.
Aussie Suns Fans Podcast host Gavin Sporle recently spoke with the marketing team at the Phoenix Suns and voiced his ideas for what Aussie Suns fans wanted to have, see, and be part of.
Organizing watch parties, in various major cities across our great wide land, which will be providing a new side of fandom to us Aussies like never before.
Having players like Jock Landale and Aron Baynes (technically from New Zealand, but we will claim him) playing for our Suns team, and wearing our colours is making the experience that much more real, and driving our love for this team like Amar’e to the rim.
The Suns fans community with Australia is growing more and more every year. We are die-hard fans, we love our team, we love our colours. The sun shines bright down under. Like never before.
Check out a new Suns pod just launched this month, with guest Dave King to help us preview the season!