Suns News

Pumped-Up Marion Impresses in Initial Workout

Suns forward Shawn Marion goes up for the monster slam during informal workouts on Tuesday.
(Jeramie McPeek/Suns.com)

By Josh Greene, Suns.com
Posted: Sept. 17, 2003


“The Matrix Reloaded!”

If Suns President Bryan Colangelo’s gleeful reaction to watching Shawn Marion’s first informal workout on Tuesday was any indication, the team is expecting their All-Star forward to pick right up where he left off last season.

2002-03 was a banner year for Marion. He finished the year as the only NBA player to be ranked in the top 20 in points (17th, 21.2) and top 10 in rebounds (8th, 9.5) and steals (3rd, 2.28). He also scored eight points, pulled down seven rebounds, had four assists and three steals in his first All-Star Game.

“Shawn’s great, man,” said veteran center Scott Williams. “He brings a lot of energy to the game. His athleticism, to be able to fly up and down on the wing and finish above the rim, it’s exciting to be out on the court with him.”

If Shawn looks a little more exciting this year, it’s because he had a little work done during the offseason. Actually, he was the one doing the work. Marion added 12 pounds of muscle to his 6-7 frame, with the help of trainer Tim Grover. If his name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s “The Trainer to the NBA Stars” with a client list that includes Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Juwan Howard.

“Tim’s who I worked with all summer,” Marion said. “He has a great strength and conditioning program, so that’s all I’ve been doing, just lifting weights, man. That was really it, lifting weights.

“(I wanted) more endurance, more strength, baby. That’s why I did it. I’m stronger. I can post up more and go inside more.”

Pumping iron is one thing, but running the court works a whole different set of muscles. Marion didn’t look like he was huffing and puffing on his first day, but being his first workout, it would be understandable if he was. His personal session included plenty of rebounding, dunking and his trademark inside play.

“I got a little drained (today) at first playing 4-on-4,” he admitted. “Everyone gets loose the first couple of games.”

Coach Frank Johnson wanted Marion to work on ball handling for the new season so the forward can make plays without having to “rely on other ball handlers to get him the ball.” Shawn’s newfound strength was also one of the things Johnson urged the All-Star to work on for two reasons during the offseason. He felt it would help Marion in the frontcourt and also help him endure the rigors of an 82-game season.

“You need that extra strength to get you through,” Johnson said. “Staying on a good weight program can get you over that hump. Shawn also realized he needed the added weight to handle the position.

“His body looked great. I’m impressed with that. A lot of times you see where you just got big up top, (but) it appears he’s added weight in his legs, as well. I don’t know how much playing he did with that weight to get use to it, but I’m impressed.”

As for his first look at the newly bulked up Matrix, Johnson got a sneak peek on Monday. The two ran into each other at AWA when Marion stopped in and saw his coach.

“I heard about the (weight),” Johnson laughed, “so I told him to take off his shirt. How about a guy asking another guy to take off his shirt? He was more than happy to do that. He looked great. Now he’s walking down here without his shirt. He wants to show it off.”

New muscles won’t be only thing the All-Star shows off once the season gets underway. Brimming with new confidence, Marion is anxious to show what he can do when he hits the court.