The Phoenix Suns: The Unluckiest Franchise In Professional Sports
My eternity as a Suns fan has been bombarded by questionable officiating, unlucky plays, and controversial league office decisions.
I have always had the feeling that someone was out to get the Phoenix Suns. After the recent baffling decision by the league office to suspend Steve Nash, I felt the need to compile a list of all the unfortunate events that have plagued the team I love so dearly throughout its existence.
The Lost Coin Flip
The lost coin flip for the first overall pick in the 1969 NBA Draft was a hard pill to swallow for many Suns fans. The flip made the call between Lew Alcindor (AKA Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Neal Walk. Alcindor won the Milwaukee Bucks a championship within his first three seasons. Walk was a Sun for five unsuccessful seasons.
The 'Greatest Game Ever Played'
Entering game five of the 1976 NBA Finals, the Suns and Celtics were tied at two games apiece. The game is called by some "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
Nearing the end of regulation, the score was 94-94. The Suns had the ball with five seconds left. They shoot and miss and then Paul Silas (of the Celtics) gets the rebound. Silas looks at referee Richie Powers and calls a timeout.
The only problem was the Celtics were out of timeouts.
The play should have resulted in a technical free throw from the automatic Paul Westphal and the ball for the Suns. Powers, however, didn't call a technical foul and claims he didn't see Silas signal a timeout.
The Celtics ended up winning the game in triple overtime and eventually won the series in six games. Very unfortunate indeed.
Three years later, same heartbreak
In game seven of the 1979 Western Conference Finals, the Suns and the Sonics were deadlocked. With about 30 seconds to go, the Suns had the ball up one. All the Suns needed to do was run the clock and get a good shot.
The heartbreaking blow this time came from Suns star Walter Davis. Davis traveled with 20 seconds left on the shot clock.
The Sonics went down and made their shot as time expired and went on to beat the Washington Bullets in five games to win the NBA Championship.
John Paxson - off our Christmas card list
All was well in 1993. The Suns were playing the Bulls in the Finals, who could complain? The Suns were coming off a must-win victory in game five to move the series back to Phoenix down 3-2.
I could go on for hours about this one, but everyone basically knows what happens. Suns up two, Jordan drives in for an easy lay-up. Dan Majerle air balls a 15-footer from the baseline. The Bulls go down and work the ball to John Paxson who hits a three at the buzzer to win the Finals. Isn't that nice?
1993-94: More Playoff heartbreak
The Suns came back in the 1993-94 season determined to finish the job this time. The Suns kept their Western Conference winning roster, plus Danny Manning (who was an absolute stud at the time). The Suns were making definite strides in their game throughout the season.
Mid-December, however, Manning went down. He would be sidelined for the remainder of the season and the Suns ended up losing in the second round to the NBA Champion Houston Rockets.
A decade later, exciting's still not enough
As we all remember, the 2004-05 Suns were one of the most exciting teams in NBA history. The first season of the run n' gun offense provided 62 wins and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
In game two of the second round against the Mavericks, Joe Johnson went up for a breakaway dunk. Jerry Stackhouse contested the dunk and took Johnson to the ground. Johnson had a cheek and jaw injury and was sidelined for the rest of that series and the first two games of the West Finals. The Suns lost 4-1.
During the offseason after the 04-05 season, Amare Stoudemire hurt his knee and had to have micro-fracture surgery on it. STAT was sidelined the entire season. The Suns would have won it all that year with a healthy Stoudemire; no doubt in my mind.
Unfair semi-final suspensions
The suspensions during the 2007 West semi-finals could possibly be the worst of all. It was completely unfair to suspend two players for leaving the bench (when the game was over and they were already standing up) to go to the aid of their MVP. What also made it unfair was that Tim Duncan had done the exact same thing earlier in the game and was not suspended for it.
So what do you think?
Here's my list. Hope you Suns fans aren't gouging your eyes out yet. It isn't all bad though. The Suns have much promise this season and I think they can win it all, but what does a naive high school senior like me know?
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