The “greatest of all time” returns to the US Airways Center Wednesday when the Suns take on the Lakers. At least that is my opinion. It’s only appropriate that the emotional reunion is being aired on national television. It may be controversial and people may vehemently disagree with such a bold statement, but the best ever will be back on the court in Phoenix after debuting in the same building during the 1990s.
That’s right, the Suns are going Black to the Future for the first of eight games this season. The best jersey in team history will make its first appearance since 2000 when Backcourt 2000, Jason Kidd and Anfernee Hardaway, donned the jerseys.
Sure, some people will praise the old school, original western font jerseys. They’re nice but they aren’t as bold and unique as the 90s black retro jerseys. Others will say the purple or white jerseys from the 90s were the best. I love the look, but the black version took them to another level in a time when black uniforms weren’t the norm in sports. And the people who would say the current uniforms are the best obviously didn’t grow up in the Barkley era.
Gallery: Black to the Future
It’s not just lifelong fans like myself who love these jersey. Current Suns remember the sharp black uniform with the orange sunburst emblazoned across the front and are excited to get a chance to wear them.
“I’d like to order at least 10 of those just for myself,” Suns center Marcin Gortat said. “They are coming back to a time when we were great. It’s an honor to wear those jerseys. We’ve seen Charles Barkley and those guys wear those jerseys, so it’s big.”
It’s not just Marcin who likes them though. Veteran Jermaine O’Neal, who actually played against the Suns when they originally wore the jerseys, is excited to see them make a comeback.
“I remember looking at them along with the black shoes and thought, ‘That’s a helluva of an outfit there,’” O’Neal reminisced. That’s actually one of my all-time favorite jerseys.”
Can a jersey have an effect on the players and their effort on the court? Could the black Hardwood Classic look not only excite fans but transform players? I’m not sure, seeing as I’ve never played professional sports before. But I’ll take Suns forward Wes Johnson’s word for it.
“I love them,” Wes said. “The whole look: retro, black. Anything black always brings an intensity and a different feel to the game, as far as how you look coming out. I’m excited about wearing them. It makes me think of toughness. Last year, when we wore our black jerseys (in Minnesota), that gave us a look that carried over to the court.”
Regardless of the team’s performance, it’ll be great to see the best in Phoenix history return to the court. Even if it’s for a limited time only. Hopefully this year’s edition of the Suns can make some new memories while wearing them for a new generation of fans.
What is your favorite Suns jersey of all time?