Big Turnout for Big Moment as Suns Unveil New Uniforms
Social media teases. Anticipation. Curiosity.
No more. Thursday night, the wait was finally over.Hundreds of fans packed into Scottsdale Fashion Square mall and craned their heads to get a glimpse as the Suns unveiled their new uniforms.
Suns veteran PJ Tucker, for one, was impressed at the turnout.
“When I came around the curtain, I didn’t expect that many people to be here, so that was crazy,” Tucker said. “The Suns have been hyping it up almost since the season ended (laughs), so to be able to come out here and showcase the uniforms in front of the fans was pretty cool.”
Those who were able to find a good vantage point (both first and second-floor areas were filled shoulder-to-shoulder) got a treat, first seeing Suns history in runway form. Fittingly, it was the “Voice of the Suns” Al McCoy giving the play-by-play for each era and representative of Suns basketball.
The “Original Sun,” Dick Van Arsdale reminded us where it all started with his home, No. 5, white jersey, and Alvan Adams followed closely behind in the team’s original warm-up jacket. Former Suns sharpshooter and current broadcast analyst Eddie Johnson did them one better, however, sporting the complete purple, road uniform from his playing days, including the classic short shorts.The ‘90s were up next, with radio analyst Tim Kempton, Ring-of-Honor member Tom Chambers and new-assistant coach Mark West sporting the popular sunburst across the chest, which brought with it a trip to the NBA Finals in 1993.
The turn of the century was represented by the likes of Phoenix favorites Casey Jacobsen, Pat Burke and Stephen Hunter, who was a member of the 2004-05 team that tied the franchise record of 62 wins in a season.
The visual trip through the decades was met with cheers from the crowd and respect from the club’s current players, who are eager to make their own look and era a well-remembered one.
“Just to receive this reception from the fans and be amongst all of the legends that once played here for this organization was a great experience,” said new Suns forward Caron Butler, an 11-year NBA veteran. “This is the first time I’ve been a part of something like this.” Following the parade of alumni and a runway performance by the Suns Dancers, the new look’s moment finally came with prized first-round picks and rookies Archie Goodwin and Alex Len tipping it off in the white home jerseys.
The design helped capture a new energy and that was first signaled a year ago when the Suns performed a makeover the their hardwood court at US Airways Center. The familiar “suns” ambigram was there, slanting upward and positioned just above nine streaking sun rays, in another gesture of respect toward the ‘90s threads. The new home shorts went back even further in time, boasting a redesigned version of the original sunburst featured on the sides of the team’s original shorts.
Those wanting to see evidence of old-school respect were rewarded when they saw PJ Tucker, who strolled out in the dominantly purple uniform the Suns will sport on the road this coming season. Although similar in design to the home jersey, the road tank has PHOENIX across the chest.
“I love ‘em,” guard Eric Bledsoe said of the new style. “I like the purple one best. The color really stands out to me.”
Although the road uniform was his favorite, Bledsoe and his former Clippers teammate Butler capped off the public event, sporting the team’s new alternate uniform, which features the team’s first-ever sleeved jersey. The color scheme was pure Planet Orange, with white “SUNS” lettering and streaks, and black numbers acting as an exclamation point on the bright statement.
“The new-look sleeves, I wasn’t aware of,” Butler said after the show. “I saw them for the first time last night, but I tried them on and was like, ‘Man, this is nice!’ I know the jersey sales are just going to go through the roof, because of this new look. It’s a cool new trend and everybody’s going to be looking for these.”
The new era of Suns players were joined by the retired veterans for one final runway pose and a thank you to the fans in attendance, and the thousands more watching online. Even after the bright lights had been turned off, though, and the crowd had gone home, the players were still wearing their new duds and big smiles.
"They're really cool," Len said. "It's not really flashy and it's kind of old-school at the same time. They’re classy, so I really like them."Goodwin, who has kept the first jersey from each team he has ever played for, was particularly excited by the look of the first professional edition to his collection.
"I wanted to see them," Goodwin said. "It was funny for [Len and I] to be the only two guys in a practice uniform [at the NBA’s Rookie Orientation] and everybody else had their jerseys on. I'm glad with what they look like."Goodwin’s fellow rookie already had a good idea what was in store for his first NBA season, of course. The fifth pick in June’s NBA Draft was actually the first Suns player to try one on when he was recruited to play the part of Clark Kent in the team’s first uniform tease. Keeping a lid on the look, however, wasn’t easy.
“Everybody was asking me on Twitter and Instagram, even on the streets people would ask me, ‘How are they? Are they cool?’” he said. “And I would always be like, ‘You’ll see.’”
Although the 7-footer was proud to wear the purple jersey for the first time more than six weeks ago, he says he prefers the orange alternate of the three.
“In college, I used to wear the tights with sleeves underneath my jersey,” he explained. “But with this one, I won’t have to do that. So the orange is my favorite.”