Remember when Connie Hawkins, Gail Goodrich, and Dick Van Arsdale led the second-year Suns to the brink of the Western Conference Finals and the near-defeat of Wilt Chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers?
When Alvan Adams and Paul Westphal led a 42-40 upstart team to game six against Boston in the 1976 NBA Finals?
That time when the Cotton Express plowed through the Valley and launched the Suns into the upper atmosphere of a globally growing league?
Or when Charles Barkley became the toast of the town and the darling of the league when in his first season he propelled the Suns to their greatest season and second NBA Finals in the franchise’s twenty-five-year history?
Backcourt 2000 placed two of the league’s best and most unselfish guards in one backcourt, compelling Jason Kidd to excitedly pronounce that the Suns would win seven titles.
Seven Seconds or Less revitalized not only a sagging franchise, but also the league as a whole. A team struggling to find its identity and a sport dragged down by low scoring, slogging offenses, was shot into hyperdrive with Steve Nash at the helm of one of the most athletic teams in NBA history.
Today the Suns are on the verge of another bright era. Whether or not the key players or coaches are currently with the team remains to be seen. Odds are, we are a few years away from witnessing the full development of the franchise’s plans from coming to fruition.
While the paradox of the 4th winningest franchise in NBA history with zero championships is enough to drive even the most fanatic fans to drink. But those fans also know that it takes ashes from which a Phoenix can rise, and Phoenix, is a Suns town.
Between each of the aforementioned periods of success were often filled with extended seasons of struggle, downturns that were lamented by management and fans alike.
But prolonged success will return. The fans will reestablish themselves as the best in the league. And the franchise will be reborn anew.
The 2016-17 Phoenix Suns will likely not see much success. A 32-50 season with mediocre improvement over a year ago is a very real and likely result.
Yet, waiting to explode like a Nova are the fans. Watching this new Suns rebirth with increasing enthusiasm clambering for the first signs that the team will once again ascend to its former heights.
Phoenix fans may currently bleed Cardinals red, but they long for the days where they can paint their faces purple and orange. For the opportunity to break out their KJ jerseys and Barkley bald caps. And for the moment when, during the peak of the searing summer heat, they can fill the Purple Palace and drive their team to the Championship we have forever longed.
And when that day finally arrives, when they finally return to a position of prominence that we all desire, Phoenix will rise. Basketball will again be the toast of the town. And your Barkley skull cap will become en vogue once more.