Dudley embraces Phoenix fans in Players Tribune article

Jared Dudley returned to Phoenix by signing a three-year, $30 million free-agent contract.

On the day after Amar’e Stoudemire gave Suns fans the bum’s rush by signing a one-day contract to retire with the New York Knicks, Jared Dudley penned a heart-warming ode to the city and its fans on The Players Tribune website.

Dudley recounts the standing ovation he received in his first game in a Suns uniform back in December 2008 after being included as a throw-in in the trade that brought Jason Richardson to Phoenix.

"That love, that embrace — I’ll always remember that feeling," he writes. "It told me that Phoenix was home, and I’ve never forgotten about it since then."

Dudley writes that the culture on that team — playing with the likes of Stoudemire, Steve Nash — is the best he’s "ever been around."

"And that culture is the reason why I’m excited to come back to the Suns. I want us to get back to that 2010 vibe."

Dudley recalls the "electric" atmosphere in the city as the Suns played the Spurs in the 2010 playoffs and the pride the fans took in supporting the team — and likewise for the players in representing the fans.

Dudley was traded to the Clippers in 2013 and later the Bucks and Wizards before signing a three-year contract to return to the Suns this month as a mentor for their younger players — a roll he embraces.

"This is a really exciting time to be a Phoenix Suns fan. I know I can have a major role in this team’s success not just this year, but also five years from now. That’s my goal.

"Phoenix is where I want to be.

"It’s the place where I became the man I am today, and I owe this city a lot. I can’t wait to give back to the community and to be out in the city to greet the fans. I want to build memories that go beyond basketball for the city of Phoenix.

"I couldn’t be happier to be home.

"Now let’s go to work."

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