Suns News

Suns Wives Mix It Up in the Paint for a Good Cause

Suzanne Gentry, wife of Suns assistant coach Alvin Gentry, helped paint a blackboard wall for Save the Family earlier this year.
(Josh Greene/
By Josh Greene,
Posted: April 2, 2006

While it was their husbands who took care of business on the court in Friday’s win, it was the Phoenix Suns Wives organization that did the same off it here at home.

The group spent Saturday putting the final, colorful touches on three newly redesigned rooms at Save the Family in Mesa, an organization that helps homeless families transition to emotionally stable and economically self-sufficient members of society.

Project Charity Stripe featured the wives teaming up with local contributors like The RoomStore, Cold Stone Creamery, dv8, Hinkley’s Lighting Factory, Insight and Porter Brothers to completely redesign three classrooms at the facility – the same facility that was the major recipient of last year’s successful Suns Wives’ book drive.

“Originally we were just going to paint the little area where we were going to put our books in for the kids,” said Laurel D’Antoni, wife of Suns Head Coach Mike D’Antoni. “Then we said, ‘What about the teens? We should take care of them. And then what about their moms and dads?’ And it just ballooned from there.”

And no one was more pleased with the result than Save the Family Executive Director Janice Parker.

“This small dream of mine has become this huge project with our partners in the community,” Parker marveled. “The Suns Wives were the driving force. I’m absolutely in awe of Laurel, the wives, the Suns and all of our partners to help get momentum into this project. We would have never been able to do that without this support.”

While the ladies left the design, demolition and new flooring, wiring, lighting and cabinetry to the pros, D’Antoni added that having the Suns organization in your corner is a big asset when it comes to rounding up partners for such a big project, and equally big cause.

“Being with the Suns gives us access to a certain amount of help because our organization is great with networking,” she said. “The Suns say, ‘You know, we know someone who does computers. We know someone who does furniture.’ We couldn’t do this without the Phoenix Suns and no one has said no.

“We want our husbands to take the headlines because that means they still have jobs (laughs). We don’t need headlines. That’s not what we do.”

While the majority of the wives like Peyton Burke and Suzanne Gentry did their part with a paint brush, broadcaster Eddie Johnson’s wife Joy and former Head Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons’ wife JoAnn were hard at work, helping children of Save the Family put the finishing touches on a mural for the team.

“This takes Joy and myself back to old times,” Fitzsimmons said. “We used to do this when Cotton was coaching and Eddie was playing. In those days, we made our own for the airport to welcome home the team from a road trip.”

With the official-ribbon cutting ceremony for the new-look Save the Family slated for Thursday, the Suns Wives are already looking forward to the their next big event – another book drive at the first home game of the Opening Round of the NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center.

“We’re here to help families,” Burke added. “It’s nice to give back since the community gives so much to the team, the organization and the players. It’s just what you should do.”