STAT's Ready for His Close-up

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If you’re looking for a much-needed offseason basketball fix, check out Amar’e Stoudemire’s video contributions via the All-Star forward’s own Youtube channel , STAT TV.  

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Does He Go by “Shaq Ethanol” Now?

 

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 (Photo Courtesy of Texas Motor Speedway)

Just when you thought Shaquille O’Neal had run out of firsts, “Diesel” trumps us again during his summer vacation.

 

The All-Star Suns center served as Grand Marshal for the Bombardier Learjet 550k at the Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, while also trying his hand as a member of a pit crew during a simulated pit stop prior to the IndyCar Series race. Armed with an air wrench, Shaq reportedly weathered some early challenges to finally get the better of one of the 50-pound tire changes.

 

The big man also joined three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford in the pace car that led the field to the green flag, tipping off the start of the race.

 

“It was phenomenal,” O’Neal told the Texas Motor Speedway. “I can see why it’s the No. 1 sport. I feel like a little kid in a candy store.

 

“When it comes to being an athlete, of course it’s nice to have the physical part but being an athlete is more mental than anything. It’s not easy driving 228 laps trying to be safe and from that point of view I would say they are phenomenal athletes.”

 

 

To read more about Shaq’s appearance at the Texas Motor Speedway, CLICK HERE.

“Hot Rod” Signs Off for the Last Time

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Utah’s loss Monday night not only eliminated them from the playoffs, it also marked the end of a broadcast era for the Jazz.

And in a minor way, the Suns, too.

Announcing his retirement after calling more than 3,000 games with the Jazz, longtime play-by-play man “Hot” Rod Hundley got his initial taste of the main chair by calling the action for the Suns in his first season in the Valley in 1970. An interim fill-in after the sudden death of team broadcaster Bob Vache, “Hot” Rod vacated his analyst seat to do play-by-play the very next night. [Read more...]

Roller Coaster Ride, Anyone?

(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)

Needless to say, it’s been an up-and-down week on Planet Orange. Beginning with a plethora of questions about the state of a Suns team just over .500 heading into an All-Star Weekend at home (not to mention the somewhat-expected fixation with Thursday’s trading deadline), the second half of the season got off to a fresh coaching start with the promotion of Alvin Gentry and subsequent three-straight wins.

The word “run” has been used many times in the past when associated with this team, but for the first time in a long while, the mention of it in Gentry’s introductory press conference carried an optimistic feel to it – an optimism that’s been validated with back-to-back-to-back 140-point efforts after Friday’s 140-118 win over the visiting Thunder. Jason Richardson scored a season-high 34 points, while Leandro Barbosa tallied a game- and career-high 41 points to go along with seven boards, seven assists and six steals.

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J-Rich Challenges Youths to “Man Up”

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“You can never be a professional basketball player.”

While most youths with an NBA dream would take that statement to heart, thankfully, Jason Richardson didn’t. In fact, he steadfastly refused to let his teacher’s comment interfere with his future profession, and for the last four years, he’s been working with young students to encourage them to achieve their dreams while also making positive choices in life. [Read more...]

"Thunder" to Rain Down at NBA’s All-Star Celebrity Game

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Celestially, if you’re going with the “stars,” you have to expect a little “Thunder,” too. 

Suns assistant coach Dan Majerle will throw down the clipboard, do his best Superman impression (sorry, Dwight Howard) and rip off the suit and tie to return to action for the McDonald’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game Friday night.

From center court at Jam Session, “Thunder Dan” will join a stellar list of expected Hollywood stars that includes actors Chris Tucker, James Denton (“Desperate Housewives”), Donald Faison (“Scrubs”), Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) and Michael Rapaport (“Prison Break”), as well as defending celebrity MVP and NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens. [Read more...]

Suit Up, All-Star Fans

 

While the old saying “It’s the clothes that make the man” was probably first uttered by somebody who was pretty full of himself as he was staring into a mirror, there is something to that, however.

For instance, how impressive would say Superman or Batman be, out saving the world while decked out in a mesh tank top and long shorts? [Read more...]

Movin' on Up

 

Yes, there was a little extra spring in the ol’ step today, and the sky seemed even sunnier than usual.

That’s because tonight’s game had a little more personal anticipation attached to it. Namely, Suns.com finally got some front-row love at the game… okay second row, but for the first time the official online home of the Suns got to see things up close and personal with lower-level press box seating. [Read more...]

Welcome to Suns 101. Now take your seats…

School was in session Tuesday at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Admittedly, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. It is a college, after all.

But the only classroom the Suns were concerned with was situated on the McKale Center hardwood, where the team officially tipped off training camp.

With their first test slated for their season opener in San Antonio on October 29, that gives Phoenix just under a month to gear up for the new NBA year.

That’s not to say the Suns need a ton of instruction (remember, they have had some level of success over the last few years), but they do need to be brought up to speed on the Terry Porter way. While a lot of preseason pundits have predicted a new focus on defense this upcoming season, consider this. After the team’s initial “1-2-3 Suns” chant to break practice Tuesday, the new Suns head coach prompted a verbal addendum, “1-2-3 Defense.” [Read more...]

The Bitter End

Steve Nash gives interviews after the Suns’ Game 5 loss in San Antonio on Tuesday.

My exit from the AT&T Center in San Antonio was far easier said than done after Game 5, especially when facing locked doors, chained gates and (for some reason) angry security guards at every turn.

Between the outcome of the game and the dejection in the visitors’ locker room during the postgame media scrum, I couldn’t wait to get out of that building – and with good reason.

Another all-too-short postseason exit after another 50-plus win regular season – a regular season that also happened to feature a franchise-altering trade, another pair of All-Star appearances – all en route to a fourth straight playoff berth. Of course, that’s little solace for a team that struggled out of an early Opening Round 3-0 hole, before going out in Game 5.

Back to the postgame locker room scene, there was no hostility (well, none that I experienced firsthand), even with the onslaught of camera, microphones and voice recorders at a time when nobody really feels like talking. Still, the Suns were asked every question possible about the series and the whole season. It always struck me as odd to flip that switch in mindset, from “how will you handle the opposition tonight” to “what do you think will happen this summer with this team?” – all in the span of a few hours.

I’m sure the finality of it all hadn’t quite sunk in yet… myself included. To their credit, the Suns answered all comers before filing onto the team bus for their final flight back to Phoenix.

As for what the immediate future holds for the Suns, well, that’s anybody’s guess. One thing is certain. The Suns will eventually rise again – just not today.