In most neighborhoods across America, the garbage man comes once a week. You know, that time every seven days that you are forced by your significant other, or your desire not to live in your own filth, to drag the can to the edge of the street for it to be picked up? In most suburban neighborhoods, it’s basically a ritual.
For the Phoenix Suns, the “Garbage Man” comes more than once a week. He comes in anytime Alvin Gentry feels his team needs a defensive pick up or an injection of energy off the bench. His name is P.J. Tucker and he’s just the kind of guy that the fans of Phoenix fall in love with.
Like Joe Kleine, Bo Outlaw and Lou Amundson before him, he’s the kind of player that will do whatever it takes to help his team win and help his teammates get better. He’s the type of guy that brings his lunch pail to the arena and gets to work. Sure, his contributions might not always show up in the box score the next morning, but he’s the kind of guy that will have an impact regardless.
“He definitely can be that kind of guy,” Coach Gentry said of Tucker. “He’s a tough, hard-nosed guy. Everyone likes a blue-collared guy. He’s willing to do the dirty work. He works extremely hard to be productive out there. It’s one of the things that attracted us to him.”
It’s a role that the forward is more than willing to except. In fact, he relishes in it.
“It’s what I do,” Tucker explained. “Doing it as my role on the team is pretty easy for me. That’s what I do anyways. For me, it’s just playing like I play. It’s that simple.”
It’s so simple it’s something that the coaching staff didn’t even have to tell Tucker. He just knew he would do it.
“It goes without saying,” the Texas product explained. “They know what I do. It’s what I do. It’s not a facade.”
If his attitude remains the same throughout the season, he may have finally found an NBA home after years playing, and playing very well, abroad. He may also be hearing the US Airways Center crowd chanting “Tuuuuck!” in no time.
That’s because, he’s the “Garbage Man” and while his job isn’t glamorous and is sometimes dirty, it’s a role every team that wants to go anywhere needs someone to play.