Phoenix Suns Team History
The Suns were one of two franchises to join the NBA at the start of the 1968 – 1969 season, alongside the Milwaukee Bucks. They were the first major professional sports franchise in the state of Arizona, and would be the only one for twenty years until the Cardinals of the National Football League relocated from St. Louis in 1988. The team played its first 24 seasons at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, located northwest of downtown Phoenix. The franchise was formed by an ownership group led by local businessmen Karl Eller, Don Pitt, Don Diamond, Bhavik Darji, Marvin Meyer, and Richard Bloch, and also part of the group were entertainers Andy Williams, Bobbie Gentry and Ed Ames.
In 1968, he left the Bulls and was hired as the first general manager of the expansion team, the Phoenix Suns. He was the youngest general manager in professional sports. When he and his family left for Arizona, he had $200 in his wallet.
General manager Jerry Colangelo lead a group that bought the team from its owners for $44 million, a record at that time.
Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly America West Arena and US Airways Center) is a sports and entertainment arena in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. It opened on June 6, 1992, at a construction cost of $89 million.
Renovations were completed in March 2003, which feature a 16,000-square-foot air-conditioned glass-enclosed atrium built on the northwest side of the arena, to keep patrons cool while waiting in line for tickets or spending time inside the building before events. The total cost was estimated at around $67 million. The upgrading of US Airways Center was done as part of the Phoenix Suns’ plan to keep it economically competitive after Jobing.com Arena opened. Former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo originally thought of the renovations after visiting Staples Center in Los Angeles and envisioned a similar entertainment district in Phoenix.
The 2004 – 2005 season marked the Suns’ return to the NBA’s elite, finishing with the best record at 62–20, and tying a franchise record set by the 1992 – 1993 team. This was a major improvement from its 29-53 record just the season before. They ended up setting a team record for greatest 1-season improvement, 33 games. This feat was made possible by the off-season unrestricted FA signing of All-Star point guard Steve Nash from Dallas who had formerly played for them at the beginning of his career. Nash went on to win the MVP award that season. Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion were named All-Stars and first year coach, Mike D’Antoni, was named NBA Coach of the Year.
The 2005 – 2006 NBA season began with Stoudemire undergoing microfracture surgery in his knee on October 18, 2005. He missed all but three games that year. Along with that, shooting guard Joe Johnson demanded a sign-and-trade deal to the Atlanta Hawks, in which the Suns got Boris Diaw along with two future first round picks. Other acquisitions that year included Raja Bell and Kurt Thomas. Despite the turnover in players, the Suns were once again able to win the Pacific going 54–28 and capturing the second seed in the Western Conference. Nash was awarded a second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Award, becoming the second point-guard (Magic Johnson was the first) to win the award in consecutive seasons. Also, Diaw was named NBA Most Improved Player.
The beginning of 2004 saw the departure of the face of Suns management since the team’s inception, when Jerry Colangelo announced that the Phoenix Suns were to be sold to an investment group headed by San Diego-based business executive (and Tucson native) Robert Sarver.
A lifelong sports fan, Sarver’s quest to purchase an NBA team began with a conversation with University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson. Olson referred Sarver to Steve Kerr, a former player at Arizona and a 15-year NBA veteran, to assist him in buying an NBA franchise. In 2004, he purchased the Suns for a record $401 million.
In October 2016, Robert Sarver was also ranked as the worst owner in the NBA by ESPN.
The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member team of the league’s Western Conference Pacific Division, and are the only team in their division not to be based in California. Since 1992, the Suns have played their home games at Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix.
The Suns began play as an expansion team in 1968. The franchise owns the NBA’s fourth-best all-time winning percentage, winning 55 percent of its games, as of the end of the 2014 – 2015 season. In 47 years of play, they have made the playoffs 29 times, posted 19 seasons of 50 or more wins, made nine trips to the Western Conference Finals, and advanced to the NBA Finals twice, in 1976 and 1993. As a result, based on their all-time win-loss percentage, the Suns are the team with the highest winning percentage to have never won an NBA championship.
1968 – Present National Basketball Association
1968 – Present Phoenix Suns
Suns – The Suns nickname was among 28,000 entries that were formally chosen in a “Name the Team” contest sponsored by the Arizona Republic; the winner was awarded $1,000 and season tickets to the inaugural season. Suns was preferred to Scorpions, Rattlers, Thunderbirds, Wranglers, Mavericks, Tumbleweeds, Mustangs and Cougars.
NBA Championships 0
2015 – Present Talking Stick Resort Arena
2006 – 2015 US Airways Center
1992 – 2006 America West Arena
1968 – 1992 Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
2004 – Present Robert Sarver
1987 – 2004 Jerry Colangelo
1968 – 1986 Karl Eller, Andy Williams, Bobbie Gentry and Ed Ames
5 Dick Van Arsdale
6 Walter Davis
7 Kevin Johnson
9 Dan Majerle
13 Steve Nash
24 Tom Chambers
33 Alvan Adams
34 Charles Barkley
42 Connie Hawkins
44 Paul Westphal
– Jerry Colangelo
– Cotton Fitzsimmons
– John MacLeod
– Joe Proski
1980 – Present Go the Gorilla
*Blue is this team’s history