Suns News

Shawn Marion Extension Press Conference

Suns President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo presents forward Shawn Marion with a new No. 31 jersey.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos/Getty Images)

Shawn Marion Press Conference

Posted: August 8, 2002

The Phoenix Suns held a press conference at America West Arena on Thursday morning to make the extension of Shawn Marion’s contract official. The fourth-year forward, who agreed in principle to the deal last week, inked his six-year maximum contract in front of the media and was presented with a new No. 31 jersey with his nickname, “Matrix,” embroidered across the back. The following is a transcript of the press conference that followed.

SUNS CEO, MANAGING GENERAL PARTNER JERRY COLANGELO: There are times when contracts are signed that are out of necessity, and there are times when contracts are signed because someone has earned and warranted the type of deal that we’re talking about today.

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Shawn Marion was working out in our facility here before the draft. He showed a lot of things physically, but he showed a lot of things, in my opinion, emotionally, about his commitment to the game. He’s come a long way in developing himself as a person and as a player, into one of the premiere players in the NBA. So this is one of those signings that has a good feel to it, because it’s going to someone who has earned his way, paid his dues and is now one of the elite players in the NBA.

The good news is he hasn’t reached his potential yet. There’s a lot more coming out of Shawn Marion in terms of upside and that’s very exciting as we build a new team. We have some good young players a great new nucleus and we’re excited about some of the things that are happening.

Shawn is also aware of our commitment to the community. It’s something that has been ingrained in most of our people as they join our organization and I’m happy to announce that Shawn is contributing $1 million to United Way over the course of his contract. Very specifically, there are areas that he has interest in, in terms of support, building basketball courts, supporting Jr. Suns and Jr. Mercury, cancer, in particular, as he lost an uncle in the last week to that disease, and also meeting some of the needs of the less fortunate in our community. So I think that’s a great statement on the part of Shawn. With that, I’ll turn it over to Shawn.

SUNS FORWARD SHAWN MARION: Hello everybody (laughs). First of all, I want to thank the owners, Jerry and Bryan (Colangelo). I want to thank the fans. I’m having a great time here and I’m excited to continue my career here. This is a new start for me. I think, like Jerry said, I’ve still got a lot of room to improve in and I just want to keep getting better. This is exciting for me.

QUESTION: You signed for the maximum allowed under the NBA rules. Does that put any pressure on you or give you an indication of where the Suns want to go?

MARION: Definitely. I think it’s been put on my shoulders, basically. I’m young, but I’m still learning at the same time. I’m not a rookie anymore. I’m a veteran. I’ve got three strong years under my belt, so I’ve got to step up to the plate now and I think I’m ready for that.

QUESTION: What was the key for you to continue your relationship with this organization?

MARION: I love Phoenix. The weather, the fans, the organization... why wouldn’t I want to stay here? This is a great opportunity for me to continue my career in a great place. Everybody talks about how they want to come to Phoenix to play. I’m here. So why would I want to leave?

QUESTION: Did you entertain any thoughts of playing out the year and seeing what might be out there for you next year?

MARION: No, I wanted to get it done this summer and they wanted to get it done this summer. So we got it done and got it taken care of.

QUESTION: Jerry mentioned your community contribution. Can you talk about how that came about?

MARION: Well, I love working with kids, so anything that can help, fundraisers and stuff, I’ll contribute to that. And like Jerry said, I just lost my uncle about a week ago. I just came back from the funeral the day before yesterday. He was a real close person to me and it really hurt me. Actually, I really didn’t have the strength to come out here. I just came with Dan (Fegan, Marion’s agent) because I know he wanted me to come out here, and he was happy for me. I’m trying not to think about it, but it’s hurting me. I’m been trying not to show it. I’ve been trying to keep it within, because he was like a father figure to me. I’m just trying to maintain. This is hard right now.

SUNS PRESIDENT, GENERAL MANAGER BRYAN COLANGELO: Just to elaborate on the origin of the contribution. It’s something that Jerry brought up in a conversation with Shawn and it’s clearly something that Shawn didn’t hesitate to respond to. Just the gesture itself and the lack of any kind of negotiation, it was just something that obviously makes a very strong statement about Shawn.

FEGAN: I think it’s important to point out that as far as the negotiation process, this wasn’t all about the contract and the money. A very important part for Jerry and Bryan and Shawn was Shawn’s commitment to the community. Part of that is reflected in the donation, but a large part of that is going to be reflected in the time and the effort that he’s going to put back in.

QUESTION: Shawn, a year ago, you talked about how there had been a lot of transition in the locker room. You looked around and so many teammates that you had had were gone. At that time, did you think that this organization might make a long-term commitment to you and that you would be the guy that they would build around?

MARION: No. Honestly, I try not to think about it. I’m just thinking about the present. The future’s going to come. I just base my life on day to day. I don’t ever think ahead. You’re not supposed to. You’re supposed to think day to day. We have had a lot of players come through here in the last two or three years, but this is a business and we’ve got to do what it takes to win. If players aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, you’ve got to get them out of here.

BRYAN COLANGELO: You can’t blame him for being frustrated. I think everyone in the organization was frustrated with the mediocrity that we found ourselves swimming in. At this point, though, there are a lot of positive things happening, both internally and externally. You can point to our draft, the accolades that we are receiving as an organization for what has transpired this summer. The moves that were made last year are starting to look a little better on the surface now that some things are coming to light, in terms of people re-signing with their respective teams, etc. There are a lot of positive things, but clearly Shawn signing this contract today is the brightest spot. We said Day One of this summer, priority No. 1 is re-signing Shawn Marion to this extension. That’s now been accomplished and I’m proud to say there’s been a lot of effort on Dan’s part, Shawn’s part, Jerry, and we got it done.

Again, looking at where we are, looking ahead, not looking back at all the moves, coaching changes, player movement, we’ve got a core of young talent now and we’re going to stick with this core and develop that core with the addition of some coaches to the staff. We’re excited. We’ve got a lot of positive things going on.

QUESTION: Shawn, considering where you came from, can you talk about this number you just signed for? Could you ever imagine this?

MARION: Basically, I can take care of my family for the rest of their lives and I’ve been meaning to do that. They’re excited for me. My family and I talk all the time. My family is not like other families. We treat everybody like brothers and sisters. So it’s great right now.

QUESTION: Bryan, does this bring some stability to this team?

BRYAN COLANGELO: Yes, it stabilizes the pulse, so to speak. It certainly took us from some degree of uncertainty of whether we were going to make to a very confident approach to the future, knowing that Shawn is an integral part of that and a significant piece. Talent wise, as Jerry indicated, he’s at the highest level in this league and I think that you could arguably say that in the future with some aging players (in the league), Shawn’s going to stay at that level for a long time.

QUESTION: Bryan mentioned the draft picks. Can you talk about Amare Stoudemire and Casey Jacobsen? Are you looking forward to playing with them?

MARION: Oh, I watched them play in the summer league a little bit. Amare’s a beast! He’s real athletic and we can use him down low, grabbing rebounds. And Casey, he’s a great shooter. I’ve seen him in a couple games and he was just on fire. So we’ve got some outside shooting and we’ve got a post threat.

BRYAN COLANGELO: Shawn’s rebounds may go down one or two, but he’s going to make it up in points on the other end.

QUESTION: Do you think you and Stephon Marbury are still learning to play together? Can you still develop there?

MARION: Oh yeah, we’re still learning. Basically, we didn’t get a chance to play together like we should. But I’ve played with Steph some this summer. We played together in a couple celebrity games and a couple games in New York. We’re trying to gel a little bit and find that chemistry that we need.