Suns News

Newsroom Notes: Majerle Hits Inspirational Shot

Before broadcasting Monday night's Suns-Bobcats game, Dan Majerle took a shot with a basketball that's traveled to more than 28 countries.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos)
By Jeramie McPeek, Suns.com
Posted: Feb. 4, 2008

Suns broadcaster Dan Majerle regularly entertains the early arrivals on game nights with a series of halfcourt shots. But “Thunder Dan” took a special shot on Monday night with an inspirational ball.

Longtime hoops fans Angelina and Noel Andreoni were in attendance at US Airways Center and asked the Suns’ legend to take a shot with a ball that they have carried to 28 countries over the last seven years. The worn leather Spalding ball has been shot by more than 4,200 people during their travels, and is a tool the couple uses to motivate children.

“We were living in Las Vegas in dead-end jobs that weren’t very rewarding and we needed to get back to being happy,” said Noel of how their journey began. “So we threw all of our passions together into one project, which is writing, traveling, basketball, photography and meeting people.”

Dual citizens of the United States and Canada, the Andreonis are big Steve Nash fans, and had both Nash’s high school coach in Victoria, British Columbia, and his college coach at Santa Clara shoot their ball. They’re hoping to have the two-time NBA MVP shoot it himself in the near future, although they say their mission is not about celebrity encounters.

During their many speaking engagements, one of which will take them to the Naismith Memorial Basetball Hall of Fame this spring, the couple teaches kids about pursuing dreams and setting goals.

“The kids always want to know who has shot the ball, but we put the question back to them,” said Noel. “Who is going to shoot the basketball today? Is it going to be a future NBA player, or is it going to be a future doctor? Think about you and what you want to be.”

For more on the Andreonis’ adventure, which featured an elephant dunking their ball in Thailand, visit their web site at: shoottheball.net

BELL IN THE ZONE

Colder than the weather outside US Airways Center, Raja Bell missed his first five shots on Monday night, but let the three-pointers rain once the clouds parted late in the half.

“A few rattled out on me, but it felt good and I was open, so I had to keep shooting,” said the Suns’ guard, who knocked down his first of seven treys with 2:57 left in the second quarter. “I was preaching that they were going to start going in, because they really did feel so good. I even told a fan at one point, ‘I know it doesn’t look like it, but they’re going to start going in.’”

With the Charlotte Bobcats utilizing a zone defense, the Suns’ shooters got plenty of opportunities from downtown on the night. Bell finished with 24 points on 7-of-12 three-point shots, while reserve guard Leandro Barbosa pumped in 30 points, hitting 5-of-9 beyond the arc.

“When they’re in that zone, you’re going to find yourself with a lot of looks,” Bell added. “With guys like Steve (Nash) and Amaré (Stoudemire), who make teams suck in like that, you’re going to have good looks. You’ve just got to jump up and shoot.”

A SUPER WEEKEND

Although Amaré Stoudemire claims the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as his favorite NFL team, and is a season ticket holder of the Arizona Cardinals, the Suns’ center was a fan of the New York Giants on Sunday night.

“I was one of the guys going for the underdog,” said STAT, who enjoyed Super Bowl XLII from a suite at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. “I thought the Patriots were going to win, but I really wanted the Giants to win.”

Suns Head Coach Mike D’Antoni also enjoyed the game, as well as the National Anthem performance of the Valley’s own Jordin Sparks, but from the comfort of a living room with a high-def TV.

“It was a great game. An unbelievable game,” said D’Antoni, who noted there were lessons to be learned from New York’s teamwork and chemistry. “That fourth quarter was unreal. Good for the Giants.”

STAT ON GASOL

Following Monday morning’s shoot around, Suns All-Star Amaré Stoudemire was asked about the Lakers’ trade with the Grizzlies, acquiring Pau Gasol.

“It definitely helps the Lakers. It adds another 7-footer to their lineup. When (Andrew) Bynum gets back (from injury), they’ll have two 7-footers in there with Lamar Odom at the small forward position, so they’re a pretty big team now. They are a force in the West, but we’re still confident and we still think we’ve got a great shot at the title.”

The longtime rivals will meet up for the fourth and final time this season, when the Suns host the Lakers on February 20.