SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — With Ryan McDonough and Jason Rowley representing their departments as co-hosts to launch the show, its working title could have been “Rebuilding Project Runway.”
McDonough is the new designer who’s been on a tactical hot streak while upgrading the Suns’ player roster with impressive — and young — talent.
Rowley, Suns’ president, has been instrumental in a two-year process of producing a new look for the on-court work outfits.
So, with radio legend Al McCoy presiding, McDonough and Rowley were first in line during Thursday’s unveiling of the Suns’ updated uniform look at Scottsdale Fashion Square.
The show transitioned from the first of four former uniform designs — modeled by several former Suns — to the new look worn by five players from the current roster.
For the record, the updated jersey logo features speed lines in all three uniform colors. In addition to the traditional home whites, the Suns will wear an orange uniform — with short-sleeved jerseys — on Friday games at US Airways Center. The Suns’ road uniforms are purple and read “Phoenix” across the jersey front.
“I like the purple,” rookie guard Archie Goodwin said backstage after his first local appearance in uniform. “I just think it’s a good color.”
As they were on draft night almost two months ago, Goodwin and Alex Len were the Suns’ first-round choices. They represented the first of three rounds featuring current players as new-wardrobe models in front an impressive, high-energy turnout at Fashion Square. The rookies were wearing white.
When it was over, Len also seemed to be wearing a look of mild frustration. After fielding a few uniform-related queries, the 7-foot-1, 20-year-old from Ukraine — the Suns’ choice with the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft — was asked about the recovery of his surgically repaired ankles.
“They’re good, I feel great,” Len said. “I should be able to start working out again in a couple of weeks.”
Len, who’s been shooting from a chair and lifting weights at the arena, also said he expects to be ready for training camp at the beginning of October. And after the first media salvo thinned a bit, Len admitted it’s pretty difficult being picked so high and not being able to be on the floor working on what’s necessary to validate the pick.
“But I just have to be patient,” he said, “because it’s close to me getting back out there.”
The rookies were joined on the runway by newcomers Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler (both acquired in a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers), with P.J. Tucker checking in as the only Sun from last year’s team on modeling duty.
Bledsoe and Butler were turned out in the short-sleeved orange uniforms and reported no movement restrictions or style reservations.
“They feel really good,” Bledsoe said.
The shorts seemed to have more overall synergy than those trotted out by Golden State when the Warriors became the first to wear sleeved jerseys last season.
The old-timers’ edition of the event preceded the unveiling, with the former Suns turning the runway into a memory lane.
Original Sun Dick Van Arsdale opened that portion of the show, wearing the first of the uniform styles the franchise has sported. Van Arsdale’s jersey demonstrated how much sports-apparel technology has changed. Back when he played, the wicking process meant being taken out of the game long enough for your jersey to dry.
He was joined by Alvan Adams, Walter Davis, Mark West, Casey Jacobsen, Pat Burke and Steven Hunter. Also participating were former Suns and current team broadcast analysts Tim Kempton, Eddie Johnson and Tom Chambers.
Johnson and Chambers walked the runway without a net; they wore jersey tops without T-shirts underneath and had enough confidence in their fitness levels to pull off wearing historically accurate shorts.
For E.J., the color analyst on Suns games broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona, the shorts really were.