Every time the Phoenix Suns discuss trading Amare Stoudemire , people outside of the Valley of the Sun begin to question why a team and its fans would want to get rid of one of the most talented power forwards in the NBA.
It’s a question I’ve been asked numerous times, and I never could really give an answer that adequately described everyone’s mind-set.
Recently, it became clear: People in Phoenix are upset with Stoudemire’s game because they’ve been there since Stoudemire entered the league, supported him, cheered for him, and watched him through everything.
It doesn’t sound like much of an explanation, but think about it: Who is usually a child’s biggest fan and toughest critic? His or her parents, because they have been there since the beginning, they have seen him or her through all the ups and downs, and they know exactly what his or her potential is.
Not a parent? Think about a good friend or family member you’ve known for a majority of his or her life. When he or she isn't living up to his or her potential, doesn’t it bother you? Isn’t it annoying that you’ve invested all the time, support, effort, and even money into this person, and he or she isn’t putting forth the effort to be the best version of himself or herself possible?
Stoudemire is that child or close acquaintance.
The Suns and their fans have seen what he can be. They know he has the potential and talent to be one of the greatest power forwards ever and the ability to be the centerpiece of a championship team. They’ve done everything they can to support him, and they’ve seen him fail to live up to that potential.
Is Stoudemire extremely talented? Yes; there is no doubt about it.
Has he helped the Suns franchise improve since he’s been in Phoenix? He most definitely has.
Will he ever be the cornerstone of a title-winning team? In the almost eight seasons he’s worn purple and orange, he hasn’t proven it yet.
And that’s exactly why the possibility of trading Stoudemire, rather than signing him to a long-term extension, exists.
Last week, Steve Kerr said about Stoudemire: “I love the guy. He has a great heart.”
Many were confused by Kerr’s quote, but it speaks volumes.
Stoudemire is a great guy with a great heart. He’s one of Phoenix’s own. He’s like family.
That’s why the fans are so tough on him. It’s the reason why they are so disappointed by a forward who averages 20-plus points and eight-plus rebounds a game. They know those 20 points and eight rebounds could easily be 30 points and 11 rebounds a night.
After years of supporting him and believing he’d reach that potential, anything less is just disappointing.