Hi, my name is Greg Esposito, my friends call me Espo and I’m a Phoenix Suns-aholic.
While most people battle their addictions, try to ignore them or get help for them, I wear mine as a badge of honor and have since I was a five year old growing up in Chandler. No matter how many Lakers, Bulls or Rockets fans tried to sway me, I stayed loyal to the purple and orange.
Like many of you, I’ve lived and breathed Suns basketball. Since the tail end of the Madhouse on McDowell days I’ve rarely missed the opportunity to watch the Purple Gang from Phoenix on television or — if I could convince my dad, or later on, my bank account — in person.
During the years when my parents wouldn’t pay for cable and I couldn’t make enough baby sitting to buy a ticket, I would listen to the dulcet tones of Al McCoy describe all the action from courtside at home games. Many a night was spent huddled up in my room around my black Emerson clock radio listening to the hall of famer as he described KJ jumpers with an emphatic ‘zing go the strings’, Thunder Dan three-pointers as they evoked a loud ‘shazam!’ and waiting for a Sir Charles ‘wham-bam-slam’.
In the pre-Internet days when the Suns weren’t in action I would spend my time reading Fastbreak Magazine trying to learn every little thing I could about an organization that I wanted to play power forward for when I grew up (unfortunately poor genetics, a 5-foot-10 frame and the inability to do anything that requires hand-eye coordination prevented me from achieving that dream).
To this day, if you so much as utter the name John Paxson in my general vicinity you’ll see me cringe as if I just watched a Charlie Sheen standup routine. Ask me who the greatest basketball player of all-time is and I’ll happily tell you Charles Barkley. If someone asks about ‘What about Jordan?’, I respond in turn with a question of my own ‘Who?’ (Which can cause some major issues at home seeing as Mrs. Espo is a Chicago Bulls fan.) I’ve acted out Rex Chapman’s buzzer-beating three-pointer against the Sonics in 1995 playoffs more times than I’d like to admit. I wore tube socks to school that went well above my knees in honor of Elliot Perry and someday I’ll tell the story of the Paul Westphal guarantee to my kids as if it was one of Aesop’s Fables.
While I never got to live out my dream of having Jeff Munn introduce me to the US Airways Center crowd as the starting power forward for the Suns, on September 1 I got the chance to become a member of the team in my own right. I was lucky enough to join the team’s digital department as their Social Media Specialist.
Although I grew up in a house and at a time where the closest thing to social media would have been yelling at the television during the local news, for years now I’ve viewed social media as the real life Mystery Science Theater 3000 of sports. It’s a place where fans can gather together and make interesting and, more often than not, humorous observation about the teams they love. It was social media, both Twitter and Facebook, that helped launch my career as a sports writer after college. It’s also where I met many great mentors and friends.
Moving forward I hope to make outlets like Facebook, Google +, Twitter and the rest places where fans feel they are connected to the team in ways they’ve never been before. My goal is to make the organization the most social and fan focused in all of professional sports. Social media is about building connections and relationships and over the next days, weeks, months and years we will use it to strengthen yours with the Suns.
Look at me as your ambassador to Planet Orange. A diplomat of sorts (minus the immunity). Just a fan who happens to be lucky enough to call the Purple Palace his office and who can be your eyes and ears to all the interesting, unique and inside stories that you’ve always wanted to know but never had someone to tell you.
With that in mind, I invite you to come along with me on this journey and experience what it’s like to be a member of the Suns. As your first assignment I want you to ask me any questions you have about the history inside the US Ariways Center, the team and what it’s like to work for this organization. I want to answer your questions and give you a sneak peek into the team you love.
You can contact me 24 hours a day with your questions via Twitter (EspoAZ) on Facebook or feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like social media, let’s make this a conversation and learn about the team we all love together.
Like I said, my name is Greg Esposito, and I’m a Suns-aholic just like you.