The Phoenix Suns were born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1968 as the city’s first professional sports franchise. The team was the result of the efforts of Richard Bloch, who formed the Suns’ ownership group. Bloch had a discussion with NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy about expanding the NBA to Phoenix. Kennedy, however, thought this was a crazy idea and that the city would never support pro basketball. However, Bloch was certain Phoenix was ready for a professional sports team. On Jan. 22, 1968, Phoenix birthed its first unnamed NBA franchise. A few months later, a “Name the Team” contest was announced which curated more than 28,000 entries. The “Suns” was selected on April 25. It was apparent residents of Phoenix were excited for a new era of professional sports.
Although the Suns have yet to win a league championship, they have participated in two NBA Finals. Their first appearance was in 1976. The Suns beat the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the playoffs 4-2. In the second round and conference championship, Phoenix played the reigning world champions, the Golden State Warriors. The Suns would eliminate the Warriors 4-3 and face the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. After dropping the first two games against the Celtics, the Suns would even out the series with two home wins. However, Phoenix lost the NBA Finals that season 4-2.
The Suns wouldn’t reach the Finals again until 1993, although their regular season would be one for the books. They reached a franchise record of 62 regular season game wins. The Suns made a trade for Charles Barkley, who would end up being the league’s MVP that same year. In the first round of the playoffs, the team would fall to a two-game deficit to the Los Angeles Lakers but would come back to win the series.
In the next round of the playoffs, the Suns matched with the San Antonio Spurs. With a 3-2 series lead over San Antonio, Barkley hit a 20-foot shot over David Robinson with 1.8 seconds left to win the series. Barkley again would be a deciding factor in the conference finals against Seattle. In game seven, Barkley finished with 44 points and 24 rebounds as the Suns defeated the SuperSonics 123-110. The team would end up going six games against the Chicago Bulls and superstar Michael Jordan. However, it ended up being Bulls guard John Paxson’s 3-pointer, known as “the shot,” that would be the deciding factor for the finals.
As mentioned, Charles Barkley was given the 1993 NBA MVP award during his four seasons in Phoenix between 1992 and 1996. Barkley is a name you’ll see on the back of many jerseys, not only because his number is retired, but also because he claimed multiple league honors during his time with the Suns.
The Suns also drafted Steve Nash in the first round before the 1996 season. Nash played two seasons in Phoenix before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks. However, he returned to the Suns in 2004. He played until 2012 and was an All-Star nearly every year. Nash won back-to-back MVP awards in the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
The Phoenix Suns Logo Over Time
Stan Fabe designed the sunburst logo all Suns fans are familiar with today. Fabe had a successful commercial printing company in Tucson, Arizona, and designed the original team logo for $200. While the Suns had an initial logo designed before going to Fabe, the team was dissatisfied with the final result.
The logo has changed throughout the years, but the Suns have always kept the sunburst concept. The original logo that Fabe designed was a basketball with sunbeams shooting out of it in front of an orange background. Fabe put “Phoenix” above the basketball and “Suns” underneath. In 1992, the Suns changed the background to purple with thicker sunbeams shooting out of the basketball. “Phoenix Suns” appears in purple underneath the basketball. In 2000, the Suns kept the same logo but rounded some edges and included a gray background and font color change from purple to white. The Sun’s current logo resembles a shooting star with a basketball in the middle. It’s atop a black background with “Phoenix Suns” written below in white with gray accents.
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