Suns News

One-on-One with Thunder Dan

By Eric Hodgson
Posted: Oct. 1, 2001

FASTBREAK: You've now come full circle with your career, returning to Phoenix, where it all started. How does it feel to be back?

MAJERLE: I feel great. I had such a great experience here my first seven years and it's no secret that I didn't want to leave. It's the place I've made my home. Even in the offseason when I was in Cleveland or Miami I came back here and spent the summers here, so for me it's a place I've never really left. To be able to come back here full time and play for the Suns it's something I've been thinking about and wanting to do since I left.

Majerle signed with the Suns as a free agent on July 18.
(Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos)
FASTBREAK: What did you think about the Jason Kidd for Stephon Marbury deal?

MAJERLE: The thing is you are talking about two totally different players and two great players. Marbury is more of a scorer, obviously. The guy can score 40 a night, any night. Jason is a great player, but obviously wasn't getting it done here for whatever reason. So they took a chance on Marbury who's young and has got a lot of potential. Every night a coach is going to have to sit over there and wonder how they are going to stop Marbury. You put him with Shawn Marion, who's another great young player, and you put those guys together for a long time and they could be very good.

FASTBREAK: If you had a chance to play with anybody in the league, who would be on the top of your wish list?

MAJERLE: I think everybody would love to play with Jordan. It's just like the Riley thing. You hear so much about them it's just one thing you would like to experience for yourself. As far as how he practices harder than he plays and never wants to lose. He'd be a great thrill to play with, obviously.

The guy I probably enjoyed playing with the most was Joe Kleine. He was my favorite teammate. I loved Charles and Ainge; those guys were great guys to play with. They played hard and liked to have fun, and the chemistry was there.

FASTBREAK: How important is chemistry on a professional team?

MAJERLE: I never really thought about it that much. The first seven years I was here were great. I mean, we would always have our little problems, but most always we had a great group of core guys who got along and wanted to play hard and enjoyed each other. That's why we were so good because we liked each other and it showed on the court.

FASTBREAK: What are your expectations for the Suns this year?

MAJERLE: I've got big expectations. I haven't been on a losing team and I haven't been on a team that hasn't made the playoffs, so I expect to go out and help this team win and win big. There are a lot of uncertainties out there, but I expect big things.

FASTBREAK: You've struggled with some injuries in recent years. How are you feeling heading into this season?

MAJERLE: I feel great. My back hasn't bothered me for two and a half, three years now. I'm working out hard and I expect to have a great year. I came back here because I thought I could still play. I didn't come back here because I wanted to come back and I thought it would be a good promotion for the bar or for the Suns. If I didn't think I could play anymore, I wouldn't play. I think I've got a lot left in me and this is just the place I enjoy playing and I think I can help the team win.

FASTBREAK: You've played against Scott Skiles and you know what kind of a player he was and what kind of a coach he is. Have you talked with him about your role on this team?

Dan and his wife, Tina, have three daughters, Madison (6), McKenzie (4) and (Not pictured) Mia (10 mos.)
MAJERLE: We haven't talked that much actually. We talked a little bit right before I signed. I've heard he's a lot like Pat in some ways. I look forward to playing with him. He was a great competitor as a player, didn't like to lose, played extremely hard. He played a lot like I play. I think it'll be fun to play with him.

FASTBREAK: How do you see your role on this team?

MAJERLE: I don't know. I've always been a guy who's done whatever for the team. I can play any position he wants me to play. I envision my role playing minutes and playing hard and doing well. Exactly how many minutes I don't know, but I think I'm the type of player who's going to be on the floor and doing whatever it takes to win.

FASTBREAK: Last year Mario Elie was the big voice in the locker room. Do you think that maybe the Suns are expecting that from you this year, the veteran voice?

MAJERLE: I've never been a real vocal leader. I've been more of a leader as far as example. This is my 14th year so if I think that there needs to be something said or if I need to talk to somebody I will. But I'll lead more by example. I think we have enough veteran guys in our locker room with Jud (Buechler) and myself and (Tom) Gugliotta. Those guys have been around and they know what's going on. I don't think there will be any problems.

FASTBREAK: In the late '80s, early '90s, you were "Thunder Dan." There were posters and commercials. Now you are a father of three little girls. You've traded in the sports cars for the SUVs. How has your life changed these past few years?

MAJERLE: It's fun. My girls are the most important things in my life. They're 6, 4 and 8-months now and it's fun going home to them and playing in the pool with them, throwing them around. We just have a great time. Basketball is still very important, but back in the day that you're talking about I would live, breath and die basketball 24 hours a day. Now I can't afford to do that because of my girls. I still work hard and practice hard, and then come home and play with the kids. It's not as life and death as it used to be.

FASTBREAK: What are your plans after this season?

MAJERLE: I'm going to take it a year at a time. As long as I'm playing well and helping teams win and I still enjoy it, I'm going to keep playing as long as I can.

FASTBREAK: Last question. If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

MAJERLE: Wow... is Oprah here? (Laughs) I don't know. That's a good question. I guess it would be "Living a Dream." I never thought this would happen to me. I had no idea in college until my senior year that I could play. Up until then, I didn't know what I was going to do. It all just kind of fell into place. I mean, this is my 14th year and that's a long time to play. Plus I've been on great teams and with great organizations. A lot of guys in the league are stuck on bad teams and I've had great situations everywhere I've gone. So I guess that would be it...
"Living a Dream."