If Jared Dudley’s month of March continues the way it has gone so far, the Phoenix Suns may hire someone to constantly walk behind him carrying an iPod and speakers with the song “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled playing on loop. Picture a modern day John Cusack from the movie Say Anything if that helps.
That’s because Dudley has averaged 18.6 points and 7.9 rebounds in a month in which the Suns are 5-2, and in two of those victories he has lead the team in scoring. But all of that may pale in comparison to his accomplishment on Monday.
After a spirited practice, while Dudley and the rest of the team began individual work, Hakim Warrick emerged from the hallway wearing a championship belt around his waist and a towel over his head. It wasn’t until Head Coach Alvin Gentry did his best George Washington Duke impression from Rocky V and escorted Warrick to the practice court free throw line that anyone took note.
The moment signified that the defending champion Warrick was ready for a post-practice free-throw contest to commence. Thanks to Dudley’s hot streak, the belt wasn’t his for long.
Dudley and Warrick, along with Ronnie Price, Grant Hill and assistant coach Dan Majerle, took part in the contest (no word on where they hid Steve Nash). The only rules: don’t hit the rim while shooting, and be the first to make five in a row.
The contest lasted a good 15 minutes when Warrick and Hill both came close to claiming the title. In the end, it was Dudley who added another win to his already impressive month and the plastic championship belt to his trophy case (although, the Suns Gorilla will probably want his prop back at some point).
Dudley celebrated by taking the belt and running around the practice court before dropping to one knee as Warrick could be heard jokingly shouting, “Anyone but him.”
Despite Warrick’s protest, Dudley was a gracious champion while talking to the media after the win.
“I beat a good champion in Hak,” Dudley said. “I had two opportunities and got him in the twelfth round with a knockout.”
Sure, a free-throw contest won’t be the crowning achievement of Dudley’s month and a championship belt worth less than a gallon of gas – at least for now –won’t be some lifelong memento, but the contest did represent something significant nonetheless.
It’s proof that, in sports, there is a panacea, a cure-all, if you will, for almost all ailments. It isn’t herbal; it doesn’t involve injections or trips to the doctor. No, the cure is simple. It is winning, and the Suns have taken a large dose of it lately.
This team is having fun, and, as we all know, when that happens in Phoenix anything is possible – even someone following Dudley around playing “All I Do Is Win” constantly. OK, maybe not that.