With the end of the season upon us, it seemed appropriate for me to look back at some of the highlights of my rookie season as a blogger for Suns.com.
Apparently, Coach D’Antoni does not take kindly to facial hair compliments.
It’s been a great year, and of course the playoffs are still to come, when more memories are sure to be made, but when I think of all the great things that have happened so far, I can’t help but get a little misty.
Will someone please cue up One Shining Moment…?
October 3, 2006: In Treviso, Italy, following a Suns training camp practice, I approach Suns Coach Mike D’Antoni in hopes of gathering a few quotes for Suns.com. He surprises me before I can say a word by complimenting my Suns baseball cap. Sensing a chance to forge a strong bond, I instantly come up with a return compliment. “Thanks,” I say, “I like your mustache.” Coach D’Antoni immediately calls security and I spend the night in an Italian jail. The food is excellent.
November 3, 2006: I drive from Los Angeles to my boyhood home of Phoenix for a sentimental visit with family. I tour the Suns offices, have lunch with Suns staffers Jeramie McPeek, Steve Koek and Brad Faye, and am the team’s guest that night at the arena for a game. I drive back to Los Angeles the next day, and receive a phone call from my mother, asking why I didn’t at least call when I was in Phoenix. I knew I forgot to do something.
November 29, 2006: Impressed at how the Suns have turned things around after a slow start, following a decisive win over the Rockets, I send an e-mail to the Suns offices, suggesting they’ve found a “hidden gem in this Steve Nash kid,” and propose they consider starting him for the remainder of the season. “Why doesn’t everyone know about this guy?” I write. In grateful response, the Suns send me season tickets. To the Arkansas Rim-Rockers of the NBA Developmental League. And a plane ticket.
December 22, 2006: The Suns drop a heartbreaker to the Washington Wizards, their only loss in a string of seventeen games…on my birthday. I reason it must be because the team was tired after spending the day shopping for presents for me, signing cards, etc. However, four months later, no gifts or cards have yet shown up. I hate when things get lost in the mail.
January 6, 202007: After three years of dedicated service, because of diminishing performance, I am forced to replace my beloved computer keyboard with a younger model. Breaking the news is difficult. Midseason cuts can be so hard.
February 20, 202007: The Suns visit Los Angeles to play the Clippers. Wanting to be positive I’m recognized among what I’m sure will be a throng of Suns fans, I await the team at their hotel wearing a purple Suns road practice jersey, an orange Suns warmup jacket, vintage 1975 Suns game shorts (extra short), a Gar Heard headband, three pairs of orange wristbands on each arm, Kurt Rambis-framed sport glasses, Elliott Perry socks, my custom-made purple-and-orange Suns shoes (see my November 28 blog), and my face painted half-purple, half-orange. Hotel management asks me to leave, saying I’m “making guests uncomfortable, lowering the reputation of the entire hotel chain, and distracting passenger jets flying overhead.” Besides, they say, the Suns aren’t even staying at this hotel. Driving home, I wonder how I could have mis-read the itinerary the Suns graciously sent me.
February 23-28, 202007: Road trip! In what I feel sure is a brilliant idea for a blog that will demonstrate my “superfan-ness,” I decide (at great personal expense) to follow the team on a four-game swing through Miami, New Orleans, Memphis and Cleveland. Arriving at Miami’s home arena, however, I learn the Suns aren’t scheduled to play the Heat that evening, and in fact completed their season series against Miami on January 5. Indeed, the Suns’ road trip will take them to Minnesota, Atlanta, Indiana and Philadelphia, and not any of the cities I have arranged to visit. Flying home (at great personal expense), I wonder how I could have again mis-read another itinerary the Suns graciously sent me.
March 16, 202007: Looking to be of service to the Suns organization any way I can, I watch the entire first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and file e-mail scouting reports to the club on potential draft prospects. Quoting verbatim from my expert scouting reports: “Greg Oden: Good. Tall.” And, “Kevin Durant: Good. Tall.” My e-mails are returned with a note saying I’ve been classified as “Dangerous Spam.” I consider adopting that as my cool-sounding nickname, like “STAT” or “The Matrix.”
April 18, 202007: In celebration of the regular season’s end, I douse myself in champagne, drive to the nearest playground and cut down the basketball hoop’s net. I’m discovered by police, reeking of booze, with the net around my neck, singing “We Are Family” at the top of my lungs at 2 a.m. I spend the rest of the night in jail for being a public nuisance. The food isn’t nearly as good as it was in Italy.
Yes, it’s been quite a season. But it’s not over yet! Onward to the playoffs! I can’t begin to describe how excited I am. And from the playoff travel itinerary and the report on the Suns’ first-round opponent the team has generously provided me with, I have to say I think we have an excellent chance of beating the Detroit Lions.