With Comicon right around the corner and Wednesday being National Batman Day, we here at Suns.com felt it was time to visit the darker side of things. With that in mind we’ve created our #SunsSuperVillains list. The players who metaphorically ripped our hearts out the way some literally do in the comic book universe.
Obviously this is all tongue-in-cheek and fun. Oh, and be forewarned, reliving some of these memories could be hazardous to your health.
1976 Boston Celtics: The Riddler
The 1976 Suns looked like a team of destiny. Even though they only finished 42-40, their run through the Western Conference in the playoffs was magical. They pulled off the upset of the talented Seattle SuperSonics, coached by Celtics legend Bill Russell, in round one and then shocked the basketball world by defeating the defending champion Golden State Warriors, led by legend Rick Barry, in the Conference Finals. Then, they faced a conundrum they didn’t have a solution for.
The Celtics weren’t the same force they had once been but they were crafty, cagey and cunning. They pulled every trick in the book, including fans storming the court before the end of a game, to throw the Sunderella Suns off their path. It worked as the green clad crew became the answer to the NBA trivia question, Who was the 1976 NBA Champions?
1970s and 1980s Lakers: Legion of Doom
A group gathered together with the sole purpose of preventing the good guys from accomplishing their long awaited goals over an extended period of time? In the comic universe you’d call them the Legion of Doom. In Phoenix during the 1970s and 1980s you’d call them the Lakers.
Of the eleven times the Suns made the playoffs from 1970-89, Los Angeles eliminated them six times.
Mario Elie: Deadshot
In the Batman universe there is a villain who is a sharpshooter who never misses when it counts. In the Suns universe, there was a villain who didn’t miss when it counted either. And we got the “kiss of death”to remind us of it.
For Gotham City it was Deadshot and for Phoenix it was Mario Elie.
John Paxson: Mr. Freeze
Sorry metal seat belt buckles and asphalt, there has never been anything hotter in an Arizona summer than the Phoenix Suns in 1993. They had just won a franchise best 62 regular season games, had come back against monumental odds against the Lakers, had beaten the Spurs and Sonics and had the league MVP, Charles Barkley, at the peak of his powers.
That is, until one man cooled them off.
John Paxson’s three at the end of Game 6 of the Finals extinguished the flame and cooled off the hottest June on record in Phoenix. For that reason it is only fitting that he’s known as Mr. Freeze on our #SunsSuperVillains list.
Robert Horry: Two Face
Has there ever been a guy you’ve gone from rooting against, to rooting for, to rooting against in Phoenix faster than Robert Horry? The forward was a member of the Houston Rockets who beat the Suns in the 1994 and 1995 playoffs, then became a member of the Suns for a brief time before turning to the dark side again by joining the Lakers and the Spurs.
If you’re a comic book fan, or even simply a fan of the Dark Knight trilogy, this “origin story” probably sounds slightly familiar. It sounds a lot like Harvey Dent’s transformation into Two Face.
Although, Horry never flipped a coin. He did throw a towel though.