When was the last time you visited your high school? It’s been nearly 20 years since I set foot on the campus of Arcadia High School in Phoenix, and I would think that if I did so today I would feel the nostalgia that comes with ‘once upon a time’. Teachers, friends, memories of yore; a life once lived long ago. The daily grind doesn’t allow us much time to remember the past.
As fans of the Phoenix Suns, the upcoming week is going to give us plenty of those nostalgic moments from yesterday year. We are going to say hello to some old faces that we have fond memories of and that will remind us of why we are or became fans of this franchise.
It starts tomorrow as the Suns once again welcome the Golden State Warriors to the Footprint Center. Rostered on their team are two members of the 2021 NBA Finals team. One is a Hall of Fame point guard, and the other left us with the question “What if he’d been healthy in the Finals?”.
Chris Paul, who last played in Phoenix on November 22 and was thrown out of the game by Scott Foster, changed the trajectory of the franchise when he chose to force his way here in 2020. Prior to that, no one was trying to get to Phoenix. Nobody wished to join the dysfunction for which Robert Sarver was responsible. But after the Orlando Bubble, Chris Paul saw who and what Devin Booker was about. And he wanted to play with him. So he forced his way to Phoenix.
Another player on the Golden State roster is Dario Saric, who was injured in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals. We all know that Giannis went nuclear, but we will always wonder whether or not Dario’s presence would have tempered that explosion. He had his injury history with Phoenix due to his torn ACL, but he always gave his all. He always played with effort. He always cared. And that is why we care about him.
Much appreciation to Chris Paul, Dario Saric, Deandre Ayton & all of the #Suns Alumni who contributed to all of the great memories, wins and 2021 NBA Finals run— ThePhoenixSuns.Com (Not The NBA Team) (@ThePhoenixSuns2) November 22, 2023
They are opponents after tip off but let's give them the respect that they deserve for the work they put in prior… pic.twitter.com/mbfAABMLPo
On Wednesday, for the first time since being dealt to the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Durant, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson return to Phoenix. The beloved duo, who excited the fan base with their easygoing nature and banter, are dearly missed. It’s been so long since we’ve heard about Chipotle or lemonade stands. Alas, it’s been just 306 days that we’ve been without them.
They were good enough to be traded for Kevin Durant, need I say more?
Both Bridges and Johnson, who we affectionately called the “Twins” while they played for the Suns, have been thriving in Brooklyn. They played on Team USA this past summer. They will receive a thunderous applause when they are announced at the Footprint Center, as well they should.
Thank you Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and yes - Jae Crowder for what you’ve all contributed to the Suns. Three players that were instrumental in turning this franchise around. The 2021 Finals was special. 64 wins was memorable. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/I6d5OCNzzv— Inside the Sun (@_insidethesun) February 9, 2023
The week ends on Friday. Phoenix plays the New York Knicks. Go ahead, look it up and down the roster. You’re not gonna find a former Sun on it. But after the game, the Suns will be inducting Shawn Marion’s number into the Suns Ring of Honor.
My favorite Sun for many, many years, Shawn Marion personified athleticism, grit, and dunk-ability. He was exciting to watch as he did all the little things a team needed to win. Nicknamed “The Matrix” for his elite second jump, he meant so much to this organization and still is in the top 10 in numerous records.
Mat Ishbia is doing a good thing, ergo, a great thing, by putting his number in the rafters at the Foot. He deserves it. A vital member of the Seven Seconds or Less Era, that engine could not run the way that it did without what he selflessly brought to the team.
Shawn Marion’s Suns ranks all-time:— Zona (@AZSportsZone) March 25, 2020
- Win Shares: 1st
- VORP: 1st
- Steals: 2nd
- Rebounds: 2nd
- BPM: 2nd
- Mins Played: 2nd
- Blocks: 3rd
- Field goals: 3rd
- Points: 4th
- PER: 5th
- Games played: 6th
He belongs in the Suns’ Ring of Honor. Read why:https://t.co/7Np97GZA1i
Enjoy this week. Enjoy the memories. Pull out your yearbook, remember your old friends, and get ready for a nostalgic week here in Phoenix.