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The Phoenix Suns are an NBA team based in Phoenix, Arizona and are the only team in the Western Conference Pacific division not based in California. You can catch one of their home games at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The franchise began play in 1968. After a slow start, the Suns reached the 1976 NBA Finals, in what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history.
After trading for perennial NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, the Suns reached the playoffs for a franchise-record thirteen consecutive appearances and remained a regular title contender throughout the 1990s, reaching the 1993 NBA Finals. However, the team would again fail to win a championship and entered into another period of mediocrity until the early part of the 2000s.
In 2004, the Suns reacquired Steve Nash, and immediately returned to playoff contention. With Nash, Shawn Marion, and Amar'e Stoudemire, and under head coach Mike D'Antoni, the Suns became renowned worldwide for their quick, dynamic offense, which led them to tie a franchise record in wins in the 2004–05 season. Two more top two Conference placements followed, but the Suns again failed to attain an NBA championship and were forced into another rebuild.
The Suns own the NBA's seventh-best all-time winning percentage and have the second-highest winning percentage of any team to have never won an NBA championship. Ten Hall of Famers have played for Phoenix, while two Suns—Barkley and Nash—have won the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award while playing for the team.
In the 1996 NBA draft, the Suns used their 15th pick for Santa Clara guard Steve Nash. Upon hearing the draft announcement, Suns fans booed in disapproval of the relatively unknown player, because he had not played in one of the major college conferences. During his first two seasons in the NBA, he played a supporting role behind star point guards Jason Kidd and Kevin Johnson. In 1998, Nash was traded to the Mavericks.
The 2004–05 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 1992–93 team. During the off-season, the Suns re-signed the now All-Star point guard Steve Nash from Dallas. That year, Nash went on to win the MVP award.
In the 2005 NBA Playoffs, Nash led Phoenix to a first seed in the Western Conference. The Suns swept the Memphis Grizzlies, 4–0, and defeated the fourth-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the second round, 4–2, as Nash forced game six into overtime with a three-pointer in the closing seconds. In the Western Conference Finals, the Suns played the San Antonio Spurs, who won the series 4–1, ending Phoenix's season.
The 2005–06 NBA season Nash was awarded a second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Award, becoming the second point-guard, after Magic Johnson, to win the award in successive seasons.
In 2012, the Suns traded Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns ended their first post-Steve Nash season with a 25–57 win-loss record, their second-worst record in franchise history behind only their inaugural season.
Under Coach D'Antoni, the Suns popularized the fast break offense known as 7 seconds or less, which was later published in a book written by Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum. Though criticized for a supposed lack of defense, the Suns specialized in an efficient offense designed to quickly get off shots that made regrouping on defense difficult for the opposing team. With Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and Amar'e Stoudemire (and to a lesser degree Joe Johnson and Raja Bell), the Suns were arguably the NBA's most entertaining and exciting team.
The Suns played at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum from 1968 until 1992. In 1992, they moved to Talking Stick Resort Arena. Plans were made to renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena, however, disagreements over payments for these upgrades between the Suns and Phoenix City Council have delayed the process.
For the first 11 seasons of their existence in the NBA, the Suns had no official mascot, but some years later this mascot was born by accident. A messenger for Eastern Onion, a singing telegram service, came to the Coliseum during a home game dressed as a gorilla. As he left, Coliseum security suggested he do a few dances underneath the basket during a timeout and the fans loved it. So did the messenger, Henry Rojas, who kept coming to games until he was officially invited to be part of the team. An earlier attempt at a mascot was made involving a sunflower costume, but it never caught on. The Suns Gorilla then became one of the most famous mascots in the NBA.
*Information courtesy of Wikipedia