The Phoenix Suns enjoy a comparatively rare position in American sport because not only are they the only NBA affiliated basketball team in Phoenix, Arizona but they are the only men's major professional sports franchise based in the state of Arizona that brands themselves exclusively to the city of Phoenix rather than the state as a whole. So the loyalty factor in Phoenix, Arizona is pretty high!
The Suns compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member team of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division, but of that division only the Suns as an Arizona based team, play outside California – in Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The Suns’ nickname derived from a "Name the Team" contest sponsored by the Arizona Republic, the American daily newspaper that is published in the city of Phoenix which attracted as many as 28,000 entries. The winner was awarded $1,000 and season tickets to the inaugural season. Suns was the preferred name over Scorpions, Rattlers, Thunderbirds, Wranglers, Mavericks, Tumbleweeds, Mustangs and Cougars. Stan Fabe, who owned a commercial printing plant in Tucson, designed the team's first iconic logo for a mere $200; this was after the team paid $5,000 to a local artist to design the team's logo which they then didn’t like.
1968 saw the Suns starting off as an expansion team in 1968 and nearly fifty years later the franchise boasts the NBA's fourth-best all-time winning percentage, with victory in 55 percent of its games, as of the end of the 2014–15 season, Their record shows 29 playoff appearances, 19 seasons of 50 or more wins, nine Western Conference Finals, and two NBA Finals, in 1976 and 1993. This brings about a third distinctive flavour about the Suns because, based on their all-time win-loss percentage, no other time has been so consistent whilst never having won an NBA championship. Percentages don’t have the appeal of championships!
Among the all-time favorite Suns players let’s start with Steve Nash who averaged 10.9 assists during his eight years in Phoenix, averaging over 11.0 and leading the league five times each. He also shot an unparalleled 51.0 percent from the field, 43.7 percent from deep and 91.2 percent from the line.
In just four seasons, Charles Barkley indisputably established himself as one of the top three Suns' players of all time. Barkley's regular season numbers—23.4 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 4.4 APG and 1.6 SPG on 50.1 percent shooting—are those of a hard-working, efficient, physically dominant, unselfish player.
Kevin Johnson was extremely productive for Phoenix. During his first 10 seasons with the Suns, the PG averaged 19.8 points, 10.0 assists and 1.6 steals on 49.7 percent FG shooting and 83.9 percent FT shooting.
During his seven full seasons in Phoenix, Shawn Marion averaged 19.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.4 blocks while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 82.9 from the line. Marion is fourth on the Suns all-time offensive win-shares list and second on the defensive list. He's first on the overall list with 93.1 total win shares.
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