(I originally posted this over on my NBA Tumblr, so excuse that it may not seem like it was written specifically for BSOTS).
I was born and raised here in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1993, the year that the Phoenix Suns were last in the NBA Finals. I was raised to be a Chicago Cubs, a Chicago Bears, and a Phoenix Suns fan (my parents are from Chicago). I don’t have specific, vivid memories of those teams I grew up with. What I do remember, though, is the feeling I would get from going to the games and the experience of being at America West Arena. It was fun and bright and loud… the only word I can think of to describe it all is: exciting.
I remember that there was a sort of Lite-Bright style Jumbo-tron in the Arena and it had clever little pictures that would pop up when certain players scored. There was a revolving Penny for Penny Hardaway… an Italian dinner scene and a big moon that said "That’s Amare" for, guess who, Amar’e Stoudemire. I also remember that my brother and I absolutely loved Joe Johnson and we were mortified when he left.
As I grew older, I began to understand and appreciate watching the actual game of basketball. Since I never played the sport, I picked up on the rules simply from seeing enough games in person and on TV. Once I started to understand the game, my love for the Suns increased exponentially with every game.
I remember where I was when I heard that Steve Nash was coming to the Suns.
I remember exactly what I was doing when I heard my absolute favorite player Goran Dragic was being traded.
In the last two seasons, I’ve probably only missed watching 10-15 games.
I’ve had to pull all-nighters for homework because of Suns games.
I’ve missed out on countless social events and outings with friends for games…
All the memories are priceless and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I had the unbelievable opportunity to attend every home playoff game against the Lakers in 2006, which meant I got to see this in person:
The energy in the arena… can’t be put into words.
The greatest thing about either being at or watching a basketball game is the energy and sense of community amongst the fans. We cheer together, cry together, spend money on our teams together.. And how often does the crowd switch the momentum of a game? Well, quite often, I believe.
Two seasons ago, the Suns were down 18 at home in the elimination game of the WCF against the Lakers when Sasha Vujacic elbowed Goran Dragic in the face. The crowd, having something to get excited about again, roared in outrage and was immediately fired up.. The Suns nearly won that game.
I can’t tell you how many times I, a teenage girl, go to a Suns game or watch one at a restaurant, and end up engaging in conversation with random strangers, who are often male and at least 10 years older than me. It’s a community. And today, I feel that community with every single fan of any of the 30 teams in the NBA. Because now, we’re just waiting for basketball again. Not just our teams, but the NBA. The most entertaining (in my opinion) league in all of sports.
Suns, Blazers, Bulls, Pacers… these fans all love their teams the same way.
And for as much as we Suns fans don’t have in common with, say, Lakers fans, we have that much in common as well. For we are all fans of the NBA.
It’s insulting that David Stern and Billy Hunter, and everyone else involved in the negotiations, aren’t considering the fans enough. We are what make this league run. I believe we are on Day 108 of the Lockout, and even though NBA news has been scarce and not exactly enjoyable, there has yet to be a day that has gone by where I didn’t get some kind of chuckle or something informative from an NBA Blog or Twitter account.
The die-hards, the common fans.. the NBA wouldn’t survive without us. And that’s why I’m so angry. Even when nothing is happening, we’re still committing our days to the league, while they’re holding unproductive meetings maybe once or twice a week.
I will never walk away from the Suns, nor will I walk away from the NBA. But it will be very hard to forgive and forget all this once they start to play again. I’ll feel bitter for awhile. But then, I will see the guys out there on the court, and I’ll remember exactly why it is I fell in love with the NBA to begin with.
However, I am a die-hard, and it is so sad to think that, as a result of all this lockout insanity, the common fan won’t return to the NBA once it’s over. And while it will damage the league financially and in the public eye, what’s more sad is that those fans will forget the game they loved and watched and won’t get the same happiness from it anymore.
Because whether the Suns are winning or losing, every game day I come home from school, read the game preview over at Bright Side of the Sun, join the game thread, listen to my pre-game iPod playlist, watch the game, get sent upstairs for being too loud, and then hop on the post-game thread to either celebrate or vent.
The Suns are my life. The NBA is my life. There is nothing that makes me happier than that.
Without basketball, I’m not sure where to turn come the end of October.