With over 50 years of history, you’d expect the answer to the question, “What was your favorite All-Star memory as a kid?” to vary greatly. After a little Suns.com investigating, however, that proved to be anything but the case.
A large conglomerate of Suns listed thedunk contest as the competition that stood out the most to them, particularly the 2000 contest featuringformer Sun and then-Raptors star Vince Carter.
“Hands down, Vince Carter,” Suns forward P.J. Tucker said of the high-flyer’s victory. “It was the No. 1 All-Star moment of all-time.”
Beasley agreed, “It’s got to be Vince Carter in thedunk contest. I was at home watching, and remember becoming a big Vince Carter fan after that. I even remember running out to get his shoes.”
For former players with perhaps a bit more experience watching the festivities, the memories of All-Star Weekend appear to revolve a bit more around players such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas.
“I have two,” Suns Head Coach Lindsey Hunter said. “One was watching Isiah Thomas win the MVP Award because I always loved the way he played. The other was watching Michael Jordan the first time he was in theAll-Star Slam Dunk Contest. We all went out and tried to emulate his dunks after that.”
Mark West was a Suns player at the time of the legendary 1992 NBA All-Star Game, and now as the Vice President of Player Programs for the organization, lists the MVP effort of Magic Johnson as the moment that will always stand out to him the most.
“One of my favorites has to be watching Magic that year,” West said. “Him not only coming back to play in that game, but taking home the MVP was amazing to watch. I’ll always remember him matching up one-on-one against all of those great players like Isiah (Thomas) and Michael Jordan. It was just a great performance.”
That 1992 contest – played just a few months after Magic had been diagnosed as HIV positive – was fittingly played in Orlando, the home of the Magic. The playmaker had announced his retirement the previous November, but looked anything but rusty in the affair by scoring 25 points and handing out nine assists en route to earning MVP honors.
But it isn’t only former players who have a great appreciation for the superstars of yesteryear. While Wes Johnson initially listed Vince Carter’s above-the-rim performance from 2000 as his favorite memory, he quickly had second thoughts.
“I would actually say that watching Magic was probably my favorite memory, just because I remember watching that game with my mom,” Johnson said of the 1992 performance by the former Lakers great. “My mom was a big Magic fan and even though I was just a young fan of basketball, I still remember the passion that he played with that night. It was obviously sad what was going on, but I still remember getting the sense that something historic was happening, and that this wasn’t just a regular All-Star Game.”